Predicting decannulation success in tracheostomy

Does peak expiratory flow rate predict decannulation success in patients with a newly formed tracheostomy?

Royal Perth Bentley Group


Coordinating Principal Investigator: Ms Fion Lau

Co-Investigators: Miss Abby Hill, Ms Carol Watson, Dr Megan Harrold

This research project looks to assess if there is a predictor of decannulation (removal) success of a tracheostomy. A tracheostomy is a surgical procedure where a small opening is made in the neck to create an alternate pathway for breathing, typically used when a patient's natural airway is blocked or compromised. Having a tracheostomy is stressful for patients and their families and can impact communication and dietary intake. Physiotherapy plays an important role in determining if a patient is ready for the tracheostomy to be removed, and this physiotherapy-led project will assess if Peak Expiratory Flow Rate helps indicate when to remove the tracheostomy.

Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR) is a measure of how fast someone can breathe out. This is thought to reflect how well a patient with a tracheostomy tube, a tube placed into their windpipe for breathing, can cough. Successful removal of the tracheostomy requires having minimal airway secretions and an effective cough. This study will assess if capturing PEFR will guide the clinical management of tracheostomised patients in the wards of Royal Perth Hospital (RPH). The study will help increase clinicians’ confidence, help increase earlier decannulation and improve patient care.

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