The Decline of Tracheotomy among Otolaryngologists: A 14-Year Review

Hetal H. Patel, Aldis Siltumens, Leah Bess, Fabian Camacho, David Goldenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective. To determine the trend of number of tracheotomies performed by otolaryngologists. Study Design. Case series with chart review. Setting. Tertiary referral center in central Pennsylvania. Subjects. All patients undergoing tracheotomy between 2000 and 2013. Methods. Data were gathered from billing records and operative reports to determine the service performing the tracheotomy. In addition, the surgical technique and indication for surgery were recorded. Negative binomial regressions were conducted to examine the number of tracheotomies performed by each specialty as a function of year. Results. In 2000, 44% of tracheotomies were being performed by the otolaryngology service, compared with only 25% in 2013. This is a decline of 22% over time. Since 2000, general surgery steadily increased the number of tracheotomies performed in comparison to the steady decrease performed by otolaryngology. Since 2008, general surgeons have significantly increased the number of percutaneous tracheotomies they perform (76% per year). Over the same period, the number of tracheotomies performed by the cardiothoracic surgery service has steadily increased by 26% per year. Most of the tracheotomies performed by cardiothoracic surgery are percutaneous tracheotomies. Results. This study illustrates that otolaryngologists at our institution are performing fewer tracheotomies over time. If this trend continues, the experience of our trainees may become diluted through reduction in surgical volume. While multi-institutional studies are warranted, this review provides a summary of data collected at a tertiary care institution, which may reflect national trends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-469
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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