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Weaning and extubation readiness in pediatric patients*

Newth, Christopher J. L. MD, FRCPC; Venkataraman, Shekhar MD; Willson, Douglas F. MD; Meert, Kathleen L. MD; Harrison, Rick MD; Dean, J Michael MD; Pollack, Murray MD; Zimmerman, Jerry MD, PhD; Anand, Kanwaljeet J. S. MBBS, DPhil; Carcillo, Joseph A. MD; Nicholson, Carol E. MD

Pediatric Critical Care Medicine: January 2009 - Volume 10 - Issue 1 - p 1-11
doi: 10.1097/PCC.0b013e318193724d
Special Article

Objective: A systematic review of weaning and extubation for pediatric patients on mechanical ventilation.

Data Selection: Pediatric and adult literature, English language.

Study Selection: Invited review.

Data Sources: Literature review using National Library of Medicine PubMed from January 1972 until April 2008, earlier cross-referenced article citations, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the Internet.

Conclusions: Despite the importance of minimizing time on mechanical ventilation, only limited guidance on weaning and extubation is available from the pediatric literature. A significant proportion of patients being evaluated for weaning are actually ready for extubation, suggesting that weaning is often not considered early enough in the course of ventilation. Indications for extubation are even less clear, although a trial of spontaneous breathing would seem a prerequisite. Several indices have been developed in an attempt to predict weaning and extubation success but the available literature would suggest they offer no improvement over clinical judgment. Extubation failure rates range from 2% to 20% and bear little relationship to the duration of mechanical ventilation. Upper airway obstruction is the single most common cause of extubation failure. A reliable method of assessing readiness for weaning and predicting extubation success is not evident from the pediatric literature.

From the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CJLN), Los Angeles, CA; Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (JAC, SV), Pittsburgh, PA; Department of Pediatrics (DFW), University of Virginia Children’s Hospital, Charlottesville, VA; Children’s Hospital of Michigan (KLM), Detroit, MI; Mattel Children’s Hospital (RH), Los Angeles, CA; Department of Pediatrics (JMD), University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah; Children’s National Medical Center (MP), Washington, D.C; Seattle Children’s Hospital (JZ), Seattle, WA; Arkansas Children’s Hospital (KJSA), Little Rock, AR; and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (CEN), Bethesda, MD.

Supported, in part, by cooperative agreements from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Department of Health and Human Services (U10HD050096, U10HD049981, U10HD500009, U10HD049945, U10HD049983, U10HD050012 and U01HD049934).

The authors have not disclosed any potential conflicts of interest.

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©2009The Society of Critical Care Medicine and the World Federation of Pediatric Intensive and Critical Care Societies