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ObjectiveInvasively ventilated patients with acute respiratory failure related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) potentially benefit from tracheostomy. The aim of this study was to determine the practice of tracheostomy during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 in the Netherlands, to ascertain whether timing of tracheostomy had an association with outcome, and to identify factors that had an association with timing.MethodsSecondary analysis of the 'PRactice of VENTilation in COVID-19' (PRoVENT-COVID) study, a multicenter observational study, conducted from March 1, 2020 through June 1, 2020 in 22 Dutch intensive care units (ICU) in the Netherlands. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients receiving tracheostomy; secondary endpoints were timing of tracheostomy, duration of ventilation, length of stay in ICU and hospital, mortality, and factors associated with timing.ResultsOf 1023 patients, 189 patients (18.5%) received a tracheostomy at median 21 [17 to 28] days from start of ventilation. Timing was similar before and after online publication of an amendment to the Dutch national guidelines on tracheostomy focusing on COVID-19 patients (21 [17-28] vs. 21 [17-26] days). Tracheostomy performed ≤ 21 days was independently associated with shorter duration of ventilation (median 26 [21 to 32] vs. 40 [34 to 47] days) and higher mortality in ICU (22.1% vs. 10.2%), hospital (26.1% vs. 11.9%) and at day 90 (27.6% vs. 14.6%). There were no patient demographics or ventilation characteristics that had an association with timing of tracheostomy.ConclusionsTracheostomy was performed late in COVID-19 patients during the first wave of the pandemic in the Netherlands and timing of tracheostomy possibly had an association with outcome. However, prospective studies are needed to further explore these associations. It remains unknown which factors influenced timing of tracheostomy in COVID-19 patients.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





18 - 27


Department of Intensive Care, Amsterdam UMC, location 'AMC', Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Electronic address:


PRoVENT–COVID Collaborative Group, Humans, Respiratory Insufficiency, Treatment Outcome, Respiration, Artificial, Tracheostomy, Ventilation, Aged, Middle Aged, Netherlands, Female, Male, Respiratory Distress Syndrome, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2