Organizational Risk Factors and Clinical Impacts of Unplanned Extubation in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

J Pediatr. 2022 Oct;249:14-21.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2022.06.012. Epub 2022 Jun 15.


Objectives: To assess the association between organizational factors and unplanned extubation events in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and to evaluate the association between unplanned extubation event and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) among infants born at <29 weeks of gestational age.

Study design: This is a retrospective cohort study of infants admitted to a tertiary care NICU between 2016 and 2019. Nursing provision ratios, daily nursing overtime hours/total nursing hours ratio, and unit occupancy were compared between days with and days without unplanned extubation events. The association between unplanned extubation events (with and without reintubation) and the risk of BPD was evaluated in infants born at <29 weeks who required mechanical ventilation using a propensity score-matched cohort. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to assess the association between exposures and outcomes while adjusting for confounders.

Results: On 108 of 1370 days there was ≥1 unplanned extubation event for a total of 116 unplanned extubation event events. Higher median nursing overtime hours (20 hours vs 16 hours) and overtime ratios (3.3% vs 2.5%) were observed on days with an unplanned extubation event compared with days without an unplanned extubation event (P = .01). Overtime ratio was associated with higher adjusted odds of a unplanned extubation event (aOR, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.01-1.18). In the subgroup of infants born at <29 weeks, those with an unplanned extubation event who were reintubated had a longer postmatching duration of mechanical ventilation (aOR, 13.06; 95% CI, 4.88-37.69) and odds of BPD (aOR, 2.86; 95% CI, 1.01-8.58) compared with those without an unplanned extubation event.

Conclusions: Nursing overtime ratio is associated with an increased number of unplanned extubation events in the NICU. In infants born at <29 weeks of gestational age, reintubation after an unplanned extubation event is associated with a longer duration of mechanical ventilation and increased risk of BPD.

Keywords: NICU; nursing overtime; preterm; unplanned extubation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Airway Extubation / adverse effects
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia* / epidemiology
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors

Grant support