Impact of unplanned extubation and reintubation after weaning on nosocomial pneumonia risk in the intensive care unit: a prospective multicenter study

Anesthesiology. 2002 Jul;97(1):148-56. doi: 10.1097/00000542-200207000-00021.


Background: The authors prospectively evaluated the occurrence and outcomes of unplanned extubations (self-extubation and accidental extubation) and reintubation after weaning, and examined the hypothesis that these events may differ regarding their influence on the risk of nosocomial pneumonia.

Methods: Data were taken from a prospective, 2-yr database including 750 mechanically ventilated patients from six intensive care units.

Results: One hundred five patients (14%) experienced at least one episode of these 3 events; 51 self-extubations occurred in 38 patients, 24 accidental extubations in 22 patients, and 56 reintubations after weaning in 45 patients. The incidence density of these 3 events was 16.4 per 1,000 mechanical ventilation days. Reintubation within 48 h was needed consistently after accidental extubation but was unnecessary in 37% of self-extubated patients. Unplanned extubation and reintubation after weaning were associated with longer total mechanical ventilation (17 vs. 6 days; P < 0.0001), intensive care unit stay (22 vs. 9 days; P < 0.0001), and hospital stay (34 vs. 18 days; P < 0.0001) than in control group, but did not influence intensive care unit or hospital mortality. The incidence of nosocomial pneumonia was significantly higher in patients with unplanned extubation or reintubation after weaning (27.6% vs. 13.8%; P = 0.002). In a Cox model adjusting on severity at admission, unplanned extubation and reintubation after weaning increased the risk of nosocomial pneumonia (relative risk, 1.80; 95% confidence interval, 1.15-2.80; P = 0.009). This risk increase was entirely ascribable to accidental extubation (relative risk, 5.3; 95% confidence interval, 2.8-9.9; P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Accidental extubation but not self-extubation or reintubation after weaning increased the risk of nosocomial pneumonia. These 3 events may deserve evaluation as an indicator for quality-of-care studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross Infection / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia / etiology*
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors