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Percutaneous Dilational Tracheostomy for Coronavirus Disease 2019 Patients Requiring Mechanical Ventilation

Angel, Luis F; Amoroso, Nancy E; Rafeq, Samaan; Mitzman, Brian; Goldenberg, Ronald; Shekar, Saketh Palasamudram; Troxel, Andrea B; Zhang, Yan; Chang, Stephanie H; Kwak, Paul; Amin, Milan R; Sureau, Kimberly; Nafday, Heidi B; Thomas, Sarun; Kon, Zachary; Sommer, Philip M; Segal, Leopoldo N; Moore, William H; Cerfolio, Robert
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:To assess the impact of percutaneous dilational tracheostomy in coronavirus disease 2019 patients requiring mechanical ventilation and the risk for healthcare providers. DESIGN/METHODS:Prospective cohort study; patients were enrolled between March 11, and April 29, 2020. The date of final follow-up was July 30, 2020. We used a propensity score matching approach to compare outcomes. Study outcomes were formulated before data collection and analysis. SETTING/METHODS:Critical care units at two large metropolitan hospitals in New York City. PATIENTS/METHODS:Five-hundred forty-one patients with confirmed severe coronavirus disease 2019 respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation. INTERVENTIONS/METHODS:Bedside percutaneous dilational tracheostomy with modified visualization and ventilation. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS/RESULTS:Required time for discontinuation off mechanical ventilation, total length of hospitalization, and overall patient survival. Of the 541 patients, 394 patients were eligible for a tracheostomy. One-hundred sixteen were early percutaneous dilational tracheostomies with median time of 9 days after initiation of mechanical ventilation (interquartile range, 7-12 d), whereas 89 were late percutaneous dilational tracheostomies with a median time of 19 days after initiation of mechanical ventilation (interquartile range, 16-24 d). Compared with patients with no tracheostomy, patients with an early percutaneous dilational tracheostomy had a higher probability of discontinuation from mechanical ventilation (absolute difference, 30%; p < 0.001; hazard ratio for successful discontinuation, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.34-5.84; p = 0.006) and a lower mortality (absolute difference, 34%, p < 0.001; hazard ratio for death, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.06-0.22; p < 0.001). Compared with patients with late percutaneous dilational tracheostomy, patients with early percutaneous dilational tracheostomy had higher discontinuation rates from mechanical ventilation (absolute difference 7%; p < 0.35; hazard ratio for successful discontinuation, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.01-2.3; p = 0.04) and had a shorter median duration of mechanical ventilation in survivors (absolute difference, -15 d; p < 0.001). None of the healthcare providers who performed all the percutaneous dilational tracheostomies procedures had clinical symptoms or any positive laboratory test for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection. CONCLUSIONS:In coronavirus disease 2019 patients on mechanical ventilation, an early modified percutaneous dilational tracheostomy was safe for patients and healthcare providers and associated with improved clinical outcomes.
PMID: 33826583
ISSN: 1530-0293
CID: 4839312

Shared Decision-making and Stakeholder Engagement in COVID-19 Tracheostomy-Reply

Kwak, Paul E; Persky, Michael J; Amin, Milan R
PMID: 33764364
ISSN: 2168-619x
CID: 4875412

Early Outcomes From Early Tracheostomy for Patients With COVID-19

Kwak, Paul E; Connors, Joseph R; Benedict, Peter A; Timen, Micah R; Wang, Binhuan; Zhang, Yan; Youlios, Stephanie; Sureau, Kimberly; Persky, Michael J; Rafeq, Samaan; Angel, Luis; Amin, Milan R
Importance/UNASSIGNED:Decision-making in the timing of tracheostomy in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has centered on the intersection of long-standing debates on the benefits of early vs late tracheostomy, assumptions about timelines of infectivity of the novel coronavirus, and concern over risk to surgeons performing tracheostomy. Multiple consensus guidelines recommend avoiding or delaying tracheostomy, without evidence to indicate anticipated improvement in outcomes as a result. Objective/UNASSIGNED:To assess outcomes from early tracheostomy in the airway management of patients with COVID-19 requiring mechanical ventilation. Design, Setting, and Participants/UNASSIGNED:A retrospective medical record review was completed of 148 patients with reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction-confirmed COVID-19 requiring mechanical ventilation at a single tertiary-care medical center in New York City from March 1 to May 7, 2020. Interventions/UNASSIGNED:Open or percutaneous tracheostomy. Main Outcomes and Measures/UNASSIGNED:The primary outcomes were time from symptom onset to (1) endotracheal intubation, (2) tracheostomy; time from endotracheal intubation to tracheostomy; time from tracheostomy to (1) tracheostomy tube downsizing, (2) decannulation; total time on mechanical ventilation; and total length of stay. Results/UNASSIGNED:Participants included 148 patients, 120 men and 28 women, with an overall mean (SD) age of 58.1 (15.8) years. Mean (SD; median) time from symptom onset to intubation was 10.57 (6.58; 9) days; from symptom onset to tracheostomy, 22.76 (8.84; 21) days; and from endotracheal intubation to tracheostomy, 12.23 (6.82; 12) days. The mean (SD; median) time to discontinuation of mechanical ventilation was 33.49 (18.82; 27) days; from tracheostomy to first downsize, 23.02 (13.76; 19) days; and from tracheostomy to decannulation, 30.16 (16.00; 26) days. The mean (SD; median) length of stay for all patients was 51.29 (23.66; 45) days. Timing of tracheostomy was significantly associated with length of stay: median length of stay was 40 days in those who underwent early tracheostomy (within 10 days of endotracheal intubation) and 49 days in those who underwent late tracheostomy (median difference, -8; 95% CI, -15 to -1). In a competing risks model with death as the competing risk, the late tracheostomy group was 16% less likely to discontinue mechanical ventilation (hazard ratio, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.55 to 1.28). Conclusions and Relevance/UNASSIGNED:This cohort study from the first 2 months of the pandemic in New York City provides an opportunity to reconsider guidelines for tracheostomy for patients with COVID-19. Findings demonstrated noninferiority of early tracheostomy and challenges recommendations to categorically delay or avoid tracheostomy in this patient population. When aligned with emerging evidence about the timeline of infectivity of the novel coronavirus, this approach may optimize outcomes from tracheostomy while keeping clinicians safe.
PMID: 33331855
ISSN: 2168-619x
CID: 4718022

Tracheostomy in COVID-19 Patients: Why Delay or Avoid? [Letter]

Kwak, Paul E; Persky, Michael J; Angel, Luis; Rafeq, Samaan; Amin, Milan R
PMID: 32808866
ISSN: 1097-6817
CID: 4566762

Vocal Fold Motion Recovery in Patients With Iatrogenic Unilateral Immobility: Cervical Versus Thoracic Injury

Tracy, Lauren F; Kwak, Paul E; Bayan, Semirra L; Van Stan, Jarrad H; Burns, James A
OBJECTIVES:/UNASSIGNED:Prognostic information about the return of vocal fold mobility in patients with iatrogenic unilateral vocal fold immobility (UVFI) can help with informed decisions about temporary and permanent treatment options. Although many variables can influence the likelihood of recovery, clinical experience suggests that cervical versus thoracic injury is a determining factor. The purpose of this study was to compare recovery rates from UVFI between cervical and thoracic injuries. METHODS:/UNASSIGNED:analyses. RESULTS:/UNASSIGNED:Overall, 15% of patients recovered vocal fold mobility at a median of 4.1 months. Patients with cervical injury (65 of 329 [20%]) were significantly more likely to recover mobility than patients with thoracic injury (11 of 173 [6.4%]) (odds ratio, 3.63). The cervical cohort contained more women (68% vs 31%) and was younger (mean age, 60.4 ± 13.8 vs 64.1 ± 16.1 years; Cohen's D = 0.25). CONCLUSIONS:/UNASSIGNED:Patients with cervical injuries resulting in UVFI are 4 times more likely to recover mobility than patients with thoracic injuries. This information can be valuable in counseling patients with UVFI and may affect clinical decision making.
PMID: 30345793
ISSN: 1943-572x
CID: 4505142

Measuring Quality of Life in Pediatric Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion Using the SF-36v2

Liao, Kershena S; Kwak, Paul E; Hewitt, Hazel; Hollas, Sarah; Ongkasuwan, Julina
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:Paradoxical vocal fold motion (PVFM) consists of intermittent adduction of the vocal folds during inspiration, resulting in stridor and worsened by anxiety and stress. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of PVFM on quality of life in our pediatric patient population. STUDY DESIGN/METHODS:This is a prospective, descriptive survey study. METHODS:Thirty-nine consecutive patients (ages 12-17 years) presenting with a PVFM diagnosis for respiratory retraining sessions with speech-language pathology were recruited. Patients completed a brief demographic questionnaire and the Short Form 36, version 2, a validated tool for measuring health-related quality of life. RESULTS:There were 31 (79%) girls and 8 (21%) boys with a mean age of 15.5 years. Subjects reported regular participation in competitive extracurricular activities, including track or cross country (30.8%), swimming (17.9%), and cheerleading or dancing (15.4%). Of the patients in the study, 46.2% were straight-A students. On the SF-36 (population averages normalized to a score of 50), the general health of patients with PVFM was better than that of the general population (53.27); however, their physical health limited their role activities more severely (42.82). In addition, a greater proportion of the group with PVFM was at risk for first-stage depression screening when compared with the general population (28% versus 18%). CONCLUSIONS:We demonstrate a measurable detrimental impact of PVFM on health-related quality of life. This is consistent with previously published literature showing a preponderance of females with PVFM, most of whom are high achievers academically and athletically.
PMID: 28148461
ISSN: 1873-4588
CID: 4505132

Physiologic and Acoustic Effects of Opera Performance

Kwak, Paul E; Stasney, C Richard; Hathway, Jeremy R; Guffey, Danielle; Minard, Charles G; Ongkasuwan, Julina
INTRODUCTION/HYPOTHESIS: Opera performance is physiological and emotional, and singing performers utilize their larynges in often strenuous ways. Historically, the training of a classical voice has been considered the paragon of healthy singing. However, the natural history of a performing larynx has not been studied systematically. There is paucity of scientific studies to guide practice patterns, particularly with regard to the course and extent of post-performance physiologic and acoustic changes. STUDY DESIGN: A prospective case series was carried out. METHODS: Principal singers in the Houston Grand Opera's 2012-2013 repertory were enlisted, for a total of seven singers. Stroboscopy was performed prior to the start of rehearsals, and at the completion of the opera's run. Data points included erythema, edema, masses or lesions, mucosal waveform, supraglottic posture; acoustic measurements were also performed. RESULTS: There were statistically significant differences (P < 0.05) in the mucosal wave on pre- and postperformance stroboscopic examinations. Acoustical measures did not achieve statistical significance, but there was a trend toward increased harmonic-to-noise ratio in postperformance measures, as well as decreased frequency range and reading F0. Measures of intra- and inter-rater reliability indicated varying levels of intra-rater reliability, and generally poor inter-rater reliability. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study describes physiologic and acoustic changes that may occur over the course of a series of rehearsals and performances in the operatic larynx. In so doing, it highlights a need for larger studies with increased frequency of serial examinations to study in a systematized way what may be natural reactive changes that occur during performance.
PMID: 27208902
ISSN: 1873-4588
CID: 2385602

Long-term Voice Outcomes of Early Thyroplasty for Unilateral Vocal Fold Paralysis Following Aortic Arch Surgery

Kwak, Paul E; Tritter, Andrew G; Donovan, Donald T; Ongkasuwan, Julina
OBJECTIVE: To describe this institution's experience with and the long-term outcomes of early type 1 thyroplasty for unilateral vocal fold paralysis (UVFP) following surgery on the aortic arch. STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective chart review with telephone questionnaire. SETTING: Academic tertiary care center. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Three hundred forty-eight patients with UVFP following surgery on the aortic arch since 1999 were identified; 40 were available for follow-up. The number of revision procedures following initial thyroplasty was ascertained, and the Voice Handicap Index (VHI) was administered by telephone. The hypothesis that early thyroplasty produced voice outcomes and revision rates comparable to injection laryngoplasty was established prior to the initiation of data collection. RESULTS: Six out of the 40 patients (15%) required revision thyroplasty following their initial procedure. Mean VHI of all patients was 36.0 (SD, 27.2). Mean VHI was significantly different in the 18 to 39 age group (13.1) when compared to the 40 to 59 (51.8) and 60+ (37.7) age groups (P = .013). Mean follow-up since initial thyroplasty was 46.5 months (SD, 42.2). CONCLUSIONS: In the setting of aortic arch surgery with injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve, early thyroplasty produces voice outcomes comparable to those achieved in the literature with repeated injection and delayed thyroplasty and can be considered in select populations.
PMID: 26969453
ISSN: 1943-572x
CID: 2187352

Knowledge, experience, and anxieties of young classical singers in training

Kwak, Paul E; Stasney, C Richard; Hathway, Jeremy; Minard, Charles G; Ongkasuwan, Julina
OBJECTIVE/HYPOTHESIS: Young classical singers in training have a wide variety of knowledge about the anatomy and physiology of the voice and vocal pathology and harbor anxiety about treatment of vocal fold disorders. This study aimed to examine differences in knowledge, experience, and anxiety across levels of training at elite conservatories and young artist programs in the United States. STUDY DESIGN: Prospective cohort questionnaire. METHODS: Undergraduate (50), master's (35), and doctoral/young artist (25) singers (n = 110) were given an 80-point questionnaire assessing experience with vocal pathology, otolaryngologists, speech pathologists, and participation in choir or teaching. Participants were asked questions to test their medical knowledge in vocal anatomy, physiology, and care. They were also asked questions about their anxiety about medical visits and vocal pathology and about their habits in the care of their own voices. RESULTS: There was no statistically significant difference in test scores for vocal knowledge across the three levels of training (P = 0.47). Mean scores were just above 50% with standard deviations around 12-13 points. The lowest score was 26% and the highest score was 84%. Doctoral/young artist-level participants were more anxious regarding general office visits to an otolaryngologist compared with undergraduate and master's level participants. There were no other significant differences by level of training regarding anxiety about vocal pathology, scope examinations, or visits to a speech pathologist. There were no significant differences in self-reported levels of knowledge. All groups of young singers expressed marked interest in expanding their knowledge of anatomy and physiology, speech pathology, care of the vocal mechanism, and vocal disorders. CONCLUSIONS: More advanced singers do not have significantly greater knowledge of vocal form and function and are more anxious about visits to otolaryngologists and vocal pathology; a clear majority of singers indicate interest in knowing more. There is thus ample opportunity for innovation in the development of medical curricula in the instruction of young singers and clear interest in more knowledge on their part.
PMID: 24075913
ISSN: 1873-4588
CID: 2187342

Nasal gout presenting as nasal obstruction [Case Report]

Kwak, Paul E; Gorman, Blythe K; Olson, Krista L
IMPORTANCE: We describe a case of nasal gout presenting as nasal obstruction, a rare etiology for a common presentation. OBSERVATIONS: We report a single case of a 56-year-old man with history of multiple nasal traumas, obstructive sleep apnea, referred for nasal obstruction and congestion, having failed attempts at medical management. He had severe septal deviation, elements of external and internal nasal valve collapse, and a nasal dorsal mass suspicious for gouty tophus. He was brought to the operating room for septorhinoplasty through an open incision with nasal tip reconstruction, which exposed a 4 x 3-cm mass on the nasal dorsum, extending to the tip, supertip, and into the septal plane at the level of the upper lateral cartilages. Final pathologic findings revealed gouty tophus. He has done well since, and breathing and sleep are significantly improved. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This case demonstrates a rare etiology for nasal obstruction that may complicate the workup, evaluation, and management of such a patient. It highlights the ways in which a rare diagnosis adds complexity to the workup and management of a patient with nasal obstruction, and serves as an important reminder about rarer pathologies that can present in an everyday clinic.
PMID: 23599078
ISSN: 2168-619x
CID: 2187332