Standardized Endoscopic Swallowing Evaluation for Tracheostomy Decannulation in Critically Ill Neurologic Patients – a prospective evaluation

Paul Muhle, Sonja Suntrup-Krueger, Karoline Burkardt, Sriramya Lapa, Mao Ogawa, Inga Claus, Bendix Labeit, Sigrid Ahring, Stephan Oelenberg, Tobias Warnecke, Rainer Dziewas

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Removal of a tracheostomy tube in critically ill neurologic patients is a critical issue during intensive care treatment, particularly due to severe dysphagia and insufficient airway protection. The “Standardized Endoscopic Evaluation for Tracheostomy Decannulation in Critically Ill Neurologic Patients” (SESETD) is an objective measure of readiness for decannulation. This protocol includes the stepwise evaluation of secretion management, spontaneous swallowing, and laryngeal sensitivity during fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES). Here, we first evaluated safety and secondly effectiveness of the protocol and sought to identify predictors of decannulation success and decannulation failure. Methods: A prospective observational study was conducted in the neurological intensive care unit at Münster University Hospital, Germany between January 2013 and December 2017. Three hundred and seventy-seven tracheostomized patients with an acute neurologic disease completely weaned from mechanical ventilation were included, all of whom were examined by FEES within 72 h from end of mechanical ventilation. Using regression analysis, predictors of successful decannulation, as well as decannulation failure were investigated. Results: Two hundred and twenty-seven patients (60.2%) could be decannulated during their stay according to the protocol, 59 of whom within 24 h from the initial FEES after completed weaning. 3.5% of patients had to be recannulated due to severe dysphagia or related complications. Prolonged mechanical ventilation showed to be a significant predictor of decannulation failure. Lower age was identified to be a significant predictor of early decannulation after end of weaning. Transforming the binary SESETD into a 4-point scale helped predicting decannulation success in patients not immediately ready for decannulation after the end of respiratory weaning (optimal cutoff ≥1; sensitivity: 64%, specifity: 66%). Conclusions: The SESETD showed to be a safe and efficient tool to evaluate readiness for decannulation in our patient collective of critically ill neurologic patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
JournalNeurological Research and Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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