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Predictors for Tracheostomy with External Validation of the Stroke-Related Early Tracheostomy Score (SETscore)

By Currents Editor posted 02-11-2019 14:18


By Khalid Alsherbini, Nitin Goyal, E. Jeffrey Metter, Abhi Pandhi, Georgios Tsivgoulis, Tracy Huffstatler, Hallie Kelly, Lucas Elijovich, Marc Malkoff, Andrei Alexandrov

Background and Purpose

Ischemic stroke (IS), intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) patients often require endotracheal intubation (EI) and mechanical ventilation (MV). Predicting the need for prolonged EI and timing of tracheostomy (TR) is challenging. While TR is performed for about 10–15% of patients in the general intensive care unit (ICU), the rate in the neurological ICU and for stroke patients ranges between 15 and 35%. Thus, we performed an external validation of the recently published SETscore.


This is a retrospective review for all patients with IS, non-traumatic ICH, and SAH who required intubation within 48 h of admission to the neurological ICU. We compared the SETscore between tracheostomized versus successfully extubated patients, and early TR (within 7 days) versus late TR (after 7 days).


Out of 511 intubated patients, 140 tracheostomized and 105 extubated were included. The sensitivity for a SETscore > 10 to predict the need for TR was 81% (95% CI 74–87%) with a specificity of 57% (95% CI 48–67%). The score had moderate accuracy in correctly identifying those requiring TR and those successfully extubated: 71% (95% CI 65–76%). The AUC of the score was 0.74 (95% CI 0.68–0.81). Multivariable logistic regression models were used to identify other independent predictors of TR. After including body mass index (BMI), African American (AA) race, ICH and a positive sputum culture in the SETscore, sensitivity, specificity, overall accuracy, and AUC improved to 90%, 78%, 85%, and 0.89 (95% CI 0.85–0.93), respectively. In our cohort, performing early TR was associated with improvement in the ICU median length of stay (LOS) (15 vs 20.5 days; p = 0.002) and mean ventilator duration (VD) (13.4 vs 18.2 days; p = 0.005) in comparison to late TR.


SETscore is a simple score with a moderate accuracy and with a fair AUC used to predict the need for TR after MV for IS, ICH, and SAH patients. Our study also demonstrates that early TR was associated with a lower ICU LOS and VD in our cohort. The utility of this score may be improved when including additional variables such as BMI, AA race, ICH, and positive sputum cultures.

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