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Comparative Study
, 19 (6), 340-2

Prospective Evaluation of Self-Extubations in a Medical Intensive Care Unit

Comparative Study

Prospective Evaluation of Self-Extubations in a Medical Intensive Care Unit

T Vassal et al. Intensive Care Med.


Objective: To evaluate the incidence, associated factors and gravity of self-extubations.

Design: Prospective study about all patients intubated over an 8 month period.

Setting: A medical intensive care unit of a University Hospital.

Patients: Patients were divided into two groups: self-extubated and those that did not. The self-extubations were separated into deliberate acts by the patients and accidental.

Results: 24 of the 197 patients included presented a total of 27 extubations (12%). There were 21 deliberate incidents and 6 accidental. The only differences between the cases and the rest of the population were a higher mean age (67 vs 59 years) and a larger proportion of chronic respiratory failure (66% versus 35%). Reintubation was necessary in 20 cases (74%) within 30 min in 16 cases. The main indication for reintubation was acute respiratory distress (90%). Reintubation was associated with one death.

Conclusion: Self-extubation is a frequent and serious complication of mechanical ventilation. Deliberate self-extubation, the most frequent type of incident could possibly be reduced by better sedation of agitated patients and accidental self-extubation by better training of the nursing staff.

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