Factors Associated With Successful Extubation Readiness Testing in Children With Congenital Heart Disease

Respir Care. 2024 Mar 27;69(4):407-414. doi: 10.4187/respcare.11312.


Background: In children with congenital heart disease, extubation readiness testing (ERT) is performed to evaluate the potential for liberation from mechanical ventilation. There is a paucity of data that suggests what mechanical ventilation parameters are associated with successful ERT. We hypothesized that ERT success would be associated with certain mechanical ventilator parameters.

Methods: Data on daily ERT assessments were recorded as part of a quality improvement project. In accordance with our respiratory therapist-driven ventilator protocol, patients were assessed daily for ERT eligibility and tested daily, if eligible. Mechanical ventilation parameters were categorized a priori to evaluate the differences in levels of respiratory support. The primary outcome was ERT success.

Results: A total of 780 ERTs from 320 subjects (median [interquartile range] age 2.5 [0.6-6.5] months and median weight [interquartile range] 4.2 [3.3-6.9] kg) were evaluated. A total of 528 ERTs (68%) were passed, 306 successful ERTs (58%) resulted in extubation, and 30 subjects (9.4%) were re-intubated. There were statistically significant differences in the ERT pass rate for ventilator mode, peak inspiratory pressure, Δ pressure, PEEP, mean airway pressure ([Formula: see text]), and dead-space-to-tidal-volume ratio (all P < .001) but not for [Formula: see text]. ERT success decreased with increases in peak inspiratory pressure, Δ pressure, PEEP, [Formula: see text], and dead-space-to-tidal-volume ratio. Logistic regression revealed neonates, Δ pressure ≥ 11 cm H2O, and [Formula: see text] > 10 cm H2O were associated with a decreased odds of ERT success, whereas children ages 1-5 years and an [Formula: see text] of 0.31-0.40 had increased odds of ERT success.

Conclusions: ERT pass rates decreased as ventilator support increased; however, some subjects were able to pass ERT despite high ventilator support. We found that [Formula: see text] was associated with ERT success and that protocols should consider using [Formula: see text] instead of PEEP thresholds for ERT eligibility. Cyanotic lesions were not associated with ERT success, which suggests that patients with cyanotic heart disease can be included in ERT protocols.

Keywords: ERT; children; congenital heart disease; extubation; pediatrics; spontaneous breathing trial; ventilator weaning.

MeSH terms

  • Airway Extubation
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Heart Defects, Congenital* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Ventilator Weaning* / methods
  • Ventilators, Mechanical