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OBJECTIVES: To describe outpatient respiratory outcomes and center-level variability among children with severe bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) who require tracheostomy and long-term mechanical ventilation.
METHODS: Retrospective cohort of subjects with severe BPD, born between 2016 and 2021, who received tracheostomy and were discharged on home ventilator support from 12 tertiary care centers participating in the BPD Collaborative Outpatient Registry. Timing of key respiratory events including time to tracheostomy placement, initial hospital discharge, first outpatient clinic visit, liberation from the ventilator, and decannulation were assessed using Kaplan-Meier analysis. Differences between centers for the timing of events were assessed via log-rank tests.
RESULTS: There were 155 patients who met inclusion criteria. Median age at the time of the study was 32 months. The median age of tracheostomy placement was 5 months (48 weeks' postmenstrual age). The median ages of hospital discharge and first respiratory clinic visit were 10 months and 11 months of age, respectively. During the study period, 64% of the subjects were liberated from the ventilator at a median age of 27 months and 32% were decannulated at a median age of 49 months. The median ages for all key events differed significantly by center (P ≤ .001 for all events).
CONCLUSIONS: There is wide variability in the outpatient respiratory outcomes of ventilator-dependent infants and children with severe BPD. Further studies are needed to identify the factors that contribute to variability in practice among the different BPD outpatient centers, which may include inpatient practices.