Our smart aim was to decrease the time between when a mechanically ventilated patient was eligible for and when they underwent their first extubation readiness test (delta time) by 50% within 3 months through the development and implementation of a respiratory therapist-driven extubation readiness test pathway.
Quality improvement project.
Single, tertiary care, 24-bed, academic PICU.
Pediatric patients admitted to the PICU and requiring mechanical ventilation for a primary pulmonary process.
We developed an extubation readiness test pathway that consisted of an eligibility screen and a standard testing process. Patients were screened every 3 hours. Upon passing the screen and being cleared by a prescriber, a test was initiated. No clinical management was dictated to prescribers.
Measurements and Main Results:
The preintervention and intervention cohorts included 109 and 43 mechanical ventilation courses, respectively. The mean delta time decreased from 33.77 hours to 2.92 hours after pathway implementation (p = 0.000). The medical length of stay decreased from 196.6 to 177.2 hours (p = 0.05). There were no statistically significant changes in duration of mechanical ventilation until first extubation (112.9 vs 122.3 hr; p = 0.651) and 48-hour extubation failure rate (16.5% vs 4.8%; p = 0.056). The sensitivity and positive predictive value for the extubation readiness test were 89.5% and 94.4%, respectively. The mean for all process compliance measures was 91.5%.
A respiratory therapist-driven extubation readiness test pathway can be safely implemented in a large, academic PICU. The pathway resulted in earlier extubation readiness testing without increasing key balancing measures—the duration of mechanical ventilation, PICU length of stay, or the extubation failure rate.