Objectives: A number of complications exist with invasive mechanical ventilation and with the use of and withdrawal from prolonged ventilator support. The use of protocols that enable the systematic identification of patients eligible for an interruption in mechanical ventilation can significantly reduce the number of complications. This study describes the application of a weaning protocol and its results.
Methods: Patients who required invasive mechanical ventilation for more than 24 hours were included and assessed daily to identify individuals who were ready to begin the weaning process.
Results: We studied 252 patients with a median mechanical ventilation time of 3.7 days (interquartile range of 1 to 23 days), a rapid shallow breathing index value of 48 (median), a maximum inspiratory pressure of 40 cmH(2)0, and a maximum expiratory pressure of 40 cm H(2)0 (median). Of these 252 patients, 32 (12.7%) had to be reintubated, which represented weaning failure. Noninvasive ventilation was used postextubation in 170 (73%) patients, and 15% of these patients were reintubated, which also represented weaning failure. The mortality rate of the 252 patients studied was 8.73% (22), and there was no significant difference in the age, gender, mechanical ventilation time, and maximum inspiratory pressure between the survivors and nonsurvivors.
Conclusions: The use of a specific weaning protocol resulted in a lower mechanical ventilation time and an acceptable reintubation rate. This protocol can be used as a comparative index in hospitals to improve the weaning system, its monitoring and the informative reporting of patient outcomes and may represent a future tool and source of quality markers for patient care.