Effect of Early Tracheostomy on Mortality of Mechanically Ventilated Patients with Guillain–Barré Syndrome: A Nationwide Observational Study

NCJ_cover.jpgBy Naoki Yonezawa, Taisuke Jo, Hiroki Matsui, Kiyohide Fushimi & Hideo Yasunaga

First Online:
14 April 2020


Patients with Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS) who require mechanical ventilation (MV) are regarded as candidates for early tracheostomy because of the high risk of prolonged MV; however, the association between early tracheostomy and favorable outcomes in patients with GBS remains unclear. In this study, we evaluated the association between early tracheostomy and outcomes in mechanically ventilated patients with GBS.


This retrospective observational study included adult patients with GBS identified in the Japanese Diagnosis Procedure Combination national inpatient database from July 1, 2010, to March 31, 2018, who initiated MV within the first week of admission and who received MV for more than 1 week. Early tracheostomy was defined as tracheostomy performed within 7 days of MV. The primary outcome was in-hospital mortality, and the secondary outcomes were 28-day mortality, nosocomial pneumonia, length of hospital stay, length of intensive care unit (ICU) stay, duration of MV, duration of sedation, duration of analgesia, duration of delirium, and total hospitalization costs. Propensity scores for early tracheostomy were calculated using a logistic regression model on the following variables: age; sex; body mass index; Japan Coma Scale status at admission; Charlson comorbidity index score; comorbidity of chronic pulmonary disease; complication of pneumonia at admission; complication of hyponatremia at admission; neurological presentation at admission; ambulance use; referral from other hospitals; treatment year; days from hospital admission to MV initiation; ICU admission until the day of MV initiation; and treatments until the day of MV initiation. Stabilized inverse probability of treatment weighting analyses was performed to compare the outcomes between patients with and without early tracheostomy.


Among 919 eligible patients, 654 patients (71%) underwent tracheostomy, with 136 patients (15%) receiving early tracheostomy. Overall, the median time from initiation of MV to tracheostomy was 12 days (interquartile range 8–15 days). After stabilized inverse probability of treatment weighting, early tracheostomy was not associated with lower in-hospital mortality (risk difference 0.4%; 95% confidence interval − 5.6 to 6.7%) compared with patients without early tracheostomy. There were no significant differences in 28-day mortality (risk difference − 1.3%; 95% confidence interval − 3.5 to 0.9%) and incidence of nosocomial pneumonia (risk difference − 2.6%; 95% confidence interval − 9.1 to 4.2%) between the two groups. None of the other secondary outcomes differed significantly between the groups.


Early tracheostomy was not significantly associated with decreased mortality or morbidity in patients with GBS requiring MV for more than 1 week.

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