Purpose: Despite studies regarding outcomes of day versus night medical care, consequences of nighttime extubations are unknown. It may be favorable to extubate patients off-hours, as soon as weaning parameters are met, since this could decrease complications and shorten length of stay (LOS). Conversely, nighttime extubation could be deleterious, as staffing varies during this time. We hypothesized that patients have similar reintubation rates, irrespective of extubation time.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study performed at 2 hospitals within a tertiary academic medical center included all adult intensive care unit (ICU) patients extubated between July 01, 2009 and May 31, 2011. Those extubated due to withdrawal of support were excluded. The nighttime group included patients extubated between 7:00 pm and 6:59 am and the daytime group included patients extubated between 7:00 am and 6:59 pm.
Results: Of 2240 extubated patients, 1555 were extubated during the day and 685 were extubated at night. Of these, 119 (7.7%) and 26 (3.8%), respectively, were reintubated in 24 hours with likelihood of reintubation significantly lower for nighttime than daytime after multivariable adjustment (odds ratio [OR] = 0.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.3-0.9, P = .01), with a similar trend for reintubation within 72 hours (OR = 0.7, 95% CI = 0.5-1.0, P = .07). There was a trend toward decreased mortality for patients extubated at night (OR = 0.6, 95% CI = 0.3-1.0, P = .06). There was also a significantly lower LOS for patients extubated at night (P = .002). In a confirmatory frequency-matched analysis, there was no significant difference in reintubation proportion or mortality, but LOS was significantly less in those extubated at night.
Conclusions: Intensive care unit extubations at night did not have higher likelihood of reintubation, LOS, or mortality compared to those during the day. Since patients should be extubated as soon as they meet parameters in order to potentially decrease complications of mechanical ventilation, these data provide no support for delaying extubation until daytime.
Keywords: airway extubation; artificial; intensive care; outcome assessment (health care); respiration; respiratory insufficiency; ventilator weaning.
© The Author(s) 2014.