Background: Early extubation of cardiac surgical patients enhances ambulation, improves cardiopulmonary function, and can lead to savings in health care costs.
Methods: We retrospectively examined the role of 48 variables in determining the period of ventilatory support in 507 patients having coronary artery bypass grafting.
Results: Fifteen (< 3%) of 507 patients required ventilatory support in excess of 24 hours. Among the remaining patients, extubation was achieved early (< or = 8 hours) (mean time, 5.65 +/- 1.31 hours) in 53% and late (> 8 hours) (mean time, 13.7 +/- 3.4 hours) in 47%. Logistic and linear multivariate regression analyses implicated increased age, New York Heart Association functional class IV, intraoperative fluid retention, postoperative intraaortic balloon pump requirement, and bank blood transfusions as predictors of late extubation. Also, the linear regression linked lower body weight and number of anastomoses (or grafts) to increased mechanical ventilatory support.
Conclusions: Analysis of the fluid balance and cardiopulmonary bypass data suggests that earlier extubation may be achieved by actively reducing fluid retention (eg, by hemoconcentration) and time on bypass (eg, normothermia). Finally, intensive care unit stay and postoperative length of stay were significantly lower in the early versus late extubation groups without an increase in pulmonary complications.