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PHS to Conduct Clinical Study on Tracheobronchitis

Starting this fall, PHS will be conducting a clinical observational study in its tracheostomy dependent patients. One of the most common medical conditions that occur in pediatric patients with artificial airways is tracheobronchitis.

What is tracheobronchitis?

Inflammation of the lining of the trachea and bronchi is termed tracheobronchitis. Normally the trachea and bronchi are free of infection and inflammation. The presence of a foreign body in the airway such as a tracheostomy tube allows the airway to remain colonized with bacteria. At times these bacteria can overcome the lung defense mechanisms and cause a tracheobronchitis. Symptoms may include cough, increased trach secretions, discoloration of trach secretions, fever and increased work of breathing. Untreated, it may progress to pneumonia and warrant hospitalization. Treatment often includes administration of either nebulized or systemic antibiotics.

What does this mean for the caregivers in the home?

Very little is known about the frequency of tracheobronchitis in pediatric home care patients with tracheostomy tubes. Starting this fall, families and caregivers of PHS patients with tracheostomy tubes will be asked to participate in a study being conducted by the PHS clinical staff. Involvement by families and nursing staff is voluntary, will remain confidential and limited to providing information to the RT clinical staff on a monthly basis by questionnaire or phone call. Patients will be followed for one year to determine how often tracheobronchitis occurs in this population and interventions prescribed by their health care providers.

What will we gain from the study?

Information provided will establish a benchmark for the incidence of this disease and the standard of care for its treatment in this community. Potential benefits of this study include identifying risk factors predisposing patients to tracheobronchitis and strategies to mitigate disease recurrence.

Information will be distributed by PHS to tracheostomy dependent families and patients prior to initiation of the study. Further questions can be addressed to the respiratory therapy department or Roy Maynard, M.D., medical director PHS.

Do you have any questions, thoughts, or comments on the study? We’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have.

Originally published: September 3, 2010
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