A comparison of two methods to perform a breathing trial before extubation in pediatric intensive care patients

Intensive Care Med. 2001 Oct;27(10):1649-54. doi: 10.1007/s001340101035.


Objective: To compare the percentage of infants and children successfully extubated after a trial of breathing performed with either pressure support or T-piece.

Design: Prospective and randomized study.

Setting: Three medical-surgical pediatric intensive care units (PICUs).

Patients: Two hundred fifty-seven consecutive infants and children who received mechanical ventilation for at least 48 h and were deemed ready to undergo a breathing trial by their primary physician.

Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to undergo a trial of breathing in one of two ways: pressure support of 10 cmH2O or T-piece. Bedside measurements of respiratory function were obtained immediately before discontinuation of mechanical ventilation and within the first 5 min of breathing through a T-piece. The primary physicians were unaware of those measurements, and the decision to extubate a patient at the end of the breathing trial was made by them.

Measurements and main results: Of the 125 patients in the pressure support group, 99 (79.2%) completed the breathing trial and were extubated, but 15 of them (15.1%) required reintubation within 48 h. Of the 132 patients in the T-piece group, 102 (77.5%) completed the breathing trial and were extubated, but 13 of them (12.7%) required reintubation within 48 h. The percentage of patients who remained extubated for 48 h after the breathing trial did not differ in the pressure support and T-piece groups (67.2% versus 67.4%, p=0.97).

Conclusions: In infants and children mechanically ventilated, successful extubation was achieved equally effectively after a first breathing trial performed with pressure support of 10 cmH2O or a T-piece.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Child, Preschool
  • Critical Care / methods
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Lung Diseases / etiology
  • Lung Diseases / metabolism
  • Lung Diseases / mortality
  • Lung Diseases / physiopathology
  • Lung Diseases / therapy
  • Male
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration / instrumentation
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / metabolism
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / mortality
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tidal Volume
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventilator Weaning / instrumentation
  • Ventilator Weaning / methods*