Objective: To evaluate the performance of an extubation readiness test based on a spontaneous breathing trial using pressure support.
Design: Retrospective chart review.
Setting: Pediatric intensive care unit.
Patients: All infants and children admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit requiring intubation from July 2007 to December 2008 were eligible for this study.
Interventions: Routine use of an extubation readiness test using pressure support set according to endotracheal tube size to determine completion of weaning and readiness for extubation.
Measurements and main results: A total of 755 extubation readiness tests were performed in 538 patients with a pass rate of 83%. Of 500 children who passed the extubation readiness test and were extubated without planned noninvasive ventilation use, the extubation failure rate was 11.2% (5.8% required reintubation). Extubation failure was defined as need for noninvasive ventilation or reintubation within 24 hrs of planned extubation. Logistic regression analysis revealed a significant association between duration of mechanical ventilation and extubation failure. Children ventilated for over 48 hrs had an 18.5% failure rate despite passing an extubation readiness test before extubation and the extubation readiness test was not a significant predictor of extubation success. Most extubation failures were the result of inadequate gas exchange attributable to lower respiratory tract dysfunction.
Conclusions: A spontaneous breathing trial using pressure support set at higher levels for smaller endotracheal tubes overestimates readiness for extubation in children and contributes to a higher failed extubation rate. The objective data obtained during an extubation readiness test may help to identify patients who will benefit from extubation to noninvasive ventilation.