Objective: We compared rapid shallow breathing index (RSBI) values under various ventilatory support settings prior to extubation.
Design and setting: Prospective study in the intensive care unit at a university hospital.
Patients: Thirty six patients ready for extubation.
Interventions: Patients were enrolled when receiving pressure support ventilation (PSV) of 5 cmH2O, PEEP of 5 cmH2O, and FIO2 of 40% (PS). Subsequently each patient received a trial of PSV of 0 cmH2O, PEEP of 5 cmH2O, and FIO2 of 40% (CPAP), a trial of PSV of 0 cmH2O, PEEP of 5 cmH2O and FIO2 of 21% (CPAP-R/A), and a 1-minute spontaneously breathing room air trial off the ventilator (T-piece). Trials were carried out in random order.
Measurements and results: Respiratory frequency (f) and tidal volume (VT) were measured during PS, CPAP, CPAP-R/A, and T-piece in all patients. RSBI (f/VT) was determined for each patient under all experimental conditions, and the average RSBI was compared during PS, CPAP, CPAP-R/A, and T-piece. RSBI was significantly smaller during PS (46+/-8 bpm/l), CPAP (63+/-13 bpm/l) and CPAP-R/A (67+/-14 bpm/l) vs. T-piece (100+/-23 bpm/l). There was no significant difference in RSBI between CPAP and CPAP-R/A. RSBI during CPAP and CPAP-R/A were significantly smaller than RSBI during T-piece. In all patients RSBI values were less than 105 bpm/l during PS, CPAP, and CPAP-R/A. However, during T-piece the RSBI increased to greater than 105bpm/l in 13 of 36 patients.
Conclusions: In the same patient the use of PSV and/or PEEP as low as 5 cmH2O can influence the RSBI. In contrast, changes in FIO2 may have no effect on the RSBI.