Purpose: The spontaneous breathing trial (SBT)-relying on objective criteria assessed by the clinician-is the major diagnostic tool to determine if patients can be successfully extubated. However, little is known regarding the patient's subjective perception of autonomous breathing.
Methods: We performed a prospective observational study in 211 mechanically ventilated adult patients successfully completing a SBT. Patients were randomly assigned to be interviewed during this trial regarding their prediction of extubation success. We compared post-extubation outcomes in three patient groups: patients confident (confidents; n = 115) or not (non-confidents; n = 38) of their extubation success and patients not subjected to interview (control group; n = 58).
Results: Extubation success was more frequent in confidents than in non-confidents (90 vs. 45%; p < 0.001/positive likelihood ratio = 2.00) or in the control group (90 vs. 78%; p = 0.04). On the contrary, extubation failure was more common in non-confidents than in confidents (55 vs. 10%; p < 0.001/negative likelihood ratio = 0.19). Logistic regression analysis showed that extubation success was associated with patient's prediction [OR (95% CI): 9.2 (3.74-22.42) for confidents vs.non-confidents] as well as to age [0.72 (0.66-0.78) for age 75 vs. 65 and 1.31 (1.28-1.51) for age 55 vs. 65].
Conclusions: Our data suggest that at the end of a sustained SBT, extubation success might be correlated to the patients' subjective perception of autonomous breathing. The results of this study should be confirmed by a large multicenter trial.