UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science


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Patient & Public Information: COVIDTrach

When COVID-19 leads to a severe infection in the lung patients need to be placed on a ventilator. Clinical practice before the pandemic was for patients who were expected to be on the ventilator for over 7 days to undergo a tracheostomy, a surgical procedure to put a breathing tube through the neck into the airway. It is uncertain whether patients with


COVID-19 also benefit from this operation due to the severity of their respiratory illness and high death rate. Furthermore, there is concern that opening the airway through the tracheostomy puts health care professionals performing the procedure at risk of being infected by the corona virus.

COVIDTrach is collaborative project by surgeons and intensive care doctors that looks at the outcomes of ventilated COVID-19 patients undergoing tracheostomy and evaluates the use of personal protective equipment and rate of COVID-19 infection amongst operators. So far data on 800 patients have been entered in an online database; this proposal focuses on expanding and completing this database to answer the fundamental questions of the safety and effectivness of tracheostomy in COVID-19.