Clinical relevance of classification according to weaning difficulty

Respir Care. 2011 May;56(5):583-90. doi: 10.4187/respcare.00842. Epub 2011 Jan 27.


Objective: To evaluate the clinical relevance of the weaning from mechanical ventilation classification system derived from the 2005 international consensus conference, in patients who receive mechanical ventilation for more than 48 hours, and evaluate its correlation with prognosis.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study in a 12-bed intensive care unit (ICU) in a teaching hospital. We included patients who required > 48 hours of mechanical ventilation and who passed a spontaneous breathing trial (SBT). Weaning and sedation were monitored according to standardized protocol-directed procedures. We collected data on physiological characteristics, mechanical ventilation duration, ICU and hospital stay, and mortality from the medical records database. We assessed one-year mortality with a prospective, standardized method. Multivariate logistic regression was performed to evaluate the association between weaning categories and outcome.

Results: We included 329 ventilation episodes, in which 115 patients passed at least one SBT. Thirty-four patients (30%) succeeded in their first SBT (simple weaning group), 47 patients (40%) succeeded in their 2nd or 3rd SBT or in less than 7 days of weaning (the difficult weaning group), and 34 patients (30%) required more than 3 SBTs or more than 7 days of weaning (the prolonged weaning group). There were significant differences in ICU and hospital mortality between the simple, difficult, and prolonged-weaning groups. Prolonged weaning was an independent risk factor for longer ICU stay (odds ratio 15.11, 95% CI 1.61-141.91, P = .01) and hospital mortality (odds ratio 3.66, 95% CI 0.99-13.51). However, the weaning process did not impact one-year mortality (odds ratio 2.61, 95% CI 0.82-8.35).

Conclusions: The new weaning classification system is clinically relevant and correlates to ICU and hospital mortality, but not to one-year mortality.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Ventilator Weaning / classification*
  • Ventilator Weaning / mortality