Objectives: Early extubation following pediatric cardiac surgery is common, but debate exists whether location affects outcome, with some centers performing routine early extubations in the operating room (odds ratio) and others in the cardiac ICU. We aimed to define early extubation practice variation across hospitals and assess impact of location on hospital length-of-stay and other outcomes.
Design: Secondary analysis of the Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium registry.
Setting: Twenty-eight Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care Consortium hospitals.
Patients: Patients undergoing Society of Thoracic Surgeons-European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery mortality category 1-3 operations between August 2014 and February 2018.
Measurements and main results: We defined early extubation as extubation less than 6 hours after postoperative admission. Hospitals were categorized based on the proportion of their early extubation patients who underwent an odds ratio extubation. Categories included low- (< 50% of early extubation, n = 12), medium- (50%-90%, n = 8), or high- (> 90%, n = 8) frequency odds ratio early extubation centers. The primary outcome of interest was postoperative hospital length-of-stay. We analyzed 16,594 operations (9,143 early extubation, 55%). Rates of early extubation ranged from 16% to 100% across hospitals. Odds ratio early extubation rates varied from 16% to 99%. Patient characteristics were similar across hospital odds ratio early extubation categories. Early extubation rates paralleled the hospital odds ratio early extubation rates-77% patients underwent early extubation at high-frequency odds ratio extubation centers compared with 39% at low-frequency odds ratio extubation centers (p < 0.001). High- and low-frequency odds ratio early extubation hospitals had similar length-of-stay, cardiac arrest rates, and low mortality. However, high-frequency odds ratio early extubation hospitals used more noninvasive ventilation than low-frequency hospitals (15% vs. 9%; p < 0.01), but had fewer extubation failures (3.6% vs. 4.5%; p = 0.02).
Conclusions: Considerable variability exists in early extubation practices after low- and moderate-complexity pediatric cardiac surgery. In this patient population, hospital length-of-stay did not differ significantly between centers with different early extubation strategies based on location or frequency.