Background: Mechanical ventilation (MV) is a life-saving technology that restores or assists breathing. Like any treatment, MV has side effects. In some patients it can cause diaphragmatic atrophy, injury, and dysfunction (ventilator-induced diaphragmatic dysfunction, VIDD). Accumulating evidence suggests that VIDD makes weaning from MV difficult, which involves increased morbidity and mortality.
Methods and analysis: This paper describes the protocol of a randomized, controlled, open-label, multicenter trial that is designed to investigate the safety and effectiveness of a novel therapy, temporary transvenous diaphragm pacing (TTVDP), to improve weaning from MV in up to 88 mechanically ventilated adult patients who have failed at least two spontaneous breathing trials over at least 7 days. Patients will be randomized (1:1) to TTVDP (treatment) or standard of care (control) groups. The primary efficacy endpoint is time to successful extubation with no reintubation within 48 h. Secondary endpoints include maximal inspiratory pressure and ultrasound-measured changes in diaphragm thickness and diaphragm thickening fraction over time. In addition, observational data will be collected and analyzed, including 30-day mortality and time to discharge from the intensive care unit and from the hospital. The hypothesis to be tested postulates that more TTVDP patients than control patients will be successfully weaned from MV within the 30 days following randomization.
Discussion: This study is the first large-scale clinical trial of a novel technology (TTVDP) aimed at accelerating difficult weaning from MV. The technology tested provides the first therapy directed specifically at VIDD, an important cause of delayed weaning from MV. Its results will help delineate the place of this therapeutic approach in clinical practice and help design future studies aimed at defining the indications and benefits of TTVDP.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03096639 . Registered on 30 March 2017.
Keywords: Diaphragm; Mechanical ventilation; Phrenic stimulation; Ventilator-induced diaphragmatic dysfunction; Weaning.