Effect of spontaneous breathing trial duration on outcome of attempts to discontinue mechanical ventilation. Spanish Lung Failure Collaborative Group

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1999 Feb;159(2):512-8. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.159.2.9803106.


The duration of spontaneous breathing trials before extubation has been set at 2 h in research studies, but the optimal duration is not known. We conducted a prospective, multicenter study involving 526 ventilator-supported patients considered ready for weaning, to compare clinical outcomes for trials of spontaneous breathing with target durations of 30 and 120 min. Of the 270 and 256 patients in the 30- and 120-min trial groups, respectively, 237 (87.8%) and 216 (84.8%), respectively, completed the trial without distress and were extubated (p = 0.32); 32 (13.5%) and 29 (13.4%), respectively, of these patients required reintubation within 48 h. The percentage of patients who remained extubated for 48 h after a spontaneous breathing trial did not differ in the 30- and 120-min trial groups (75.9% versus 73.0%, respectively, p = 0.43). The 30- and 120-min trial groups had similar within-unit mortality rates (13 and 9%, respectively) and in-hospital mortality rates (19 and 18%, respectively). Reintubation was required in 61 (13.5%) patients, and these patients had a higher mortality (20 of 61, 32.8%) than did patients who tolerated extubation (18 of 392, 4.6%) (p < 0.001). Neither measurements of respiratory frequency, heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and oxygen saturation during the trial, nor other functional measurements before the trial discriminated between patients who required reintubation from those who tolerated extubation. In conclusion, after a first trial of spontaneous breathing, successful extubation was achieved equally effectively with trials targeted to last 30 and 120 min.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Respiration*
  • Respiration, Artificial* / mortality
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventilator Weaning / mortality