Extubation failure is multifactorial, and most tools to assess extubation readiness only evaluate snapshots of patient physiology. Understanding variability in respiratory variables may provide additional information to inform extubation readiness assessments.
Secondary analysis of prospectively collected physiologic data of children just prior to extubation during a spontaneous breathing trial. Physiologic data were cleaned to provide 40 consecutive breaths and calculate variability terms, coefficient of variation and autocorrelation, in commonly used respiratory variables (i.e., tidal volume, minute ventilation, and respiratory rate). Other clinical variables included diagnostic and demographic data, median values of respiratory variables during spontaneous breathing trials, and the change in airway pressure during an occlusion maneuver to measure respiratory muscle strength (maximal change in airway pressure generated during airway occlusion [PiMax]). Multivariable models evaluated independent associations with reintubation and prolonged use of noninvasive respiratory support after extubation.
Acute care, children’s hospital.
Children were included from the pediatric and cardiothoracic ICUs who were greater than 37 weeks gestational age up to and including 18 years who were intubated greater than or equal to 12 hours with planned extubation. We excluded children who had a contraindication to an esophageal catheter or respiratory inductance plethysmography bands.
Measurements and Main Results:
A total of 371 children were included, 32 of them were reintubated. Many variability terms were associated with reintubation, including coefficient of variation and autocorrelation of the respiratory rate. After controlling for confounding variables such as age and neurologic diagnosis, both coefficient of variation of respiratory rate(p < 0.001) and low PiMax (p = 0.002) retained an independent association with reintubation. Children with either low PiMax or high coefficient of variation of respiratory rate had a nearly three-fold higher risk of extubation failure, and when these children developed postextubation upper airway obstruction, reintubation rates were greater than 30%.
High respiratory variability during spontaneous breathing trials is independently associated with extubation failure in children, with very high rates of extubation failure when these children develop postextubation upper airway obstruction.