Effects of high-flow oxygen therapy on patients with hypoxemia after extubation and predictors of reintubation: a retrospective study based on the MIMIC-IV database

BMC Pulm Med. 2021 May 13;21(1):160. doi: 10.1186/s12890-021-01526-2.


Background: To investigate the indications for high-flow nasal cannula oxygen (HFNC) therapy in patients with hypoxemia during ventilator weaning and to explore the predictors of reintubation when treatment fails.

Methods: Adult patients with hypoxemia weaning from mechanical ventilation were identified from the Medical Information Mart for Intensive Care IV (MIMIC-IV) database. The patients were assigned to the treatment group or control group according to whether they were receiving HFNC or non-invasive ventilation (NIV) after extubation. The 28-day mortality and 28-day reintubation rates were compared between the two groups after Propensity score matching (PSM). The predictor for reintubation was formulated according to the risk factors with the XGBoost algorithm. The areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was calculated for reintubation prediction according to values at 4 h after extubation, which was compared with the ratio of SpO2/FiO2 to respiratory rate (ROX index).

Results: A total of 524,520 medical records were screened, and 801 patients with moderate or severe hypoxemia when undergoing mechanical ventilation weaning were included (100 < PaO2/FiO2 ≤ 300 mmHg), including 358 patients who received HFNC therapy after extubation in the treatment group. There were 315 patients with severe hypoxemia (100 < PaO2/FiO2 ≤ 200 mmHg) before extubation, and 190 patients remained in the treatment group with median oxygenation index 166[157,180] mmHg after PSM. There were no significant differences in the 28-day reintubation rate or 28-day mortality between the two groups with moderate or severe hypoxemia (all P > 0.05). Then HR/SpO2 was formulated as a predictor for 48-h reintubation according to the important features predicting weaning failure. According to values at 4 h after extubation, the AUC of HR/SpO2 was 0.657, which was larger than that of ROX index (0.583). When the HR/SpO2 reached 1.2 at 4 h after extubation, the specificity for 48-h reintubation prediction was 93%.

Conclusions: The treatment effect of HFNC therapy is not inferior to that of NIV, even on patients with oxygenation index from 160 to 180 mmHg when weaning from ventilator. HR/SpO2 is more early and accurate in predicting HFNC failure than ROX index.

Keywords: High-flow nasal cannula; Hypoxemia; MIMIC; Ventilator weaning.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cannula
  • Critical Care
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / mortality
  • Hypoxia / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noninvasive Ventilation* / adverse effects
  • Oxygen
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / mortality
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors


  • Oxygen