Protocol and statistical analysis plan for the Pragmatic Investigation of optimaL Oxygen Targets (PILOT) clinical trial

BMJ Open. 2021 Oct 28;11(10):e052013. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-052013.


Introduction: Mechanical ventilation of intensive care unit (ICU) patients universally involves titration of the fraction of inspired oxygen to maintain arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2). However, the optimal SpO2 target remains unknown.

Methods and analysis: The Pragmatic Investigation of optimaL Oxygen Targets (PILOT) trial is a prospective, unblinded, pragmatic, cluster-crossover trial being conducted in the emergency department (ED) and medical ICU at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. PILOT compares use of a lower SpO2 target (target 90% and goal range: 88%-92%), an intermediate SpO2 target (target 94% and goal range: 92%-96%) and a higher SpO2 target (target 98% and goal range: 96%-100%). The study units are assigned to a single SpO2 target (cluster-level allocation) for each 2-month study block, and the assigned SpO2 target switches every 2 months in a randomly generated sequence (cluster-level crossover). The primary outcome is ventilator-free days (VFDs) to study day 28, defined as the number of days alive and free of invasive mechanical ventilation from the final receipt of invasive mechanical ventilation through 28 days after enrolment.

Ethics and dissemination: The trial was approved by the Vanderbilt Institutional Review Board. The results will be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at one or more scientific conferences.

Trial registration number: The trial protocol was registered with on 25 May 2018 prior to initiation of patient enrolment ( identifier: NCT03537937).

Keywords: accident & emergency medicine; adult intensive & critical care; clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Oxygen
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • SARS-CoV-2


  • Oxygen

Associated data