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Tracheostomy guidelines developed at a large academic medical center during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, tracheostomy may be required for COVID-19 patients requiring long-term ventilation in addition to other conditions such as airway compromise from head and neck cancer. As an aerosol-generating procedure, tracheostomy increases the exposure of health care workers to COVID-19 infection. Performing surgical tracheostomy and tracheostomy care requires a strategy that mitigates these risks and maintains the quality of patient care.


This study is a multidisciplinary review of institutional tracheostomy guidelines and clinical pathways. Modifications to support clinical decision making in the context of COVID-19 were derived by consensus and available evidence.


Modified guidelines for all phases of tracheostomy care at an academic tertiary care center in the setting of COVID-19 are presented.


During the various phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians must carefully consider the indications, procedural precautions, and postoperative care for tracheostomies. We present guidelines to mitigate risk to health care workers while preserving the quality of care.

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