Background: Mechanical insufflation-exsufflation (MI-E) is a noninvasive technique performed to simulate cough and remove sputum from proximal airways. To date, the effects of MI-E on critically ill patients on invasive mechanical ventilation are not fully elucidated. In this randomized crossover trial, we evaluated the efficacy and safety of MI-E combined to expiratory rib cage compressions (ERCC).
Methods: Twenty-six consecutive subjects who were sedated, intubated, and on mechanical ventilation > 48 h were randomized to perform 2 sessions of ERCC with or without additional MI-E before tracheal suctioning in a 24-h period. The primary outcome was sputum volume following each procedure. Secondary end points included effects on respiratory mechanics, hemodynamics, and safety.
Results: In comparison to ERCC alone, median (interquartile range) sputum volume cleared was significantly higher during ERCC+MI-E (0.42 [0-1.39] mL vs 2.29 [1-4.67] mL, P < .001). The mean ± SD respiratory compliance improved in both groups immediately after the treatment, with the greater improvement in the ERCC+MI-E group (54.7 ± 24.1 mL/cm H2O vs 73.7 ± 35.8 mL/cm H2O, P < .001). Differences between the groups were not significant (P = .057). Heart rate increased significantly in both groups immediately after each intervention (P < .05). Additionally, a significant increase in oxygenation was observed from baseline to 1 h post-intervention in the ERCC+MI-E group (P < .05). Finally, several transitory hemodynamic variations occurred during both interventions, but these were nonsignificant and were considered clinically irrelevant.
Conclusions: In mechanically ventilated subjects, MI-E combined with ERCC increased the sputum volume cleared without causing clinically important hemodynamic changes or adverse events. (ClinicalTrials.gov registration: NCT03316079.).
Keywords: mechanical insufflation-exsufflation; mechanical ventilation; physiotherapy; pulmonary mechanics; sputum clearance.
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