Protocol-Driven Ventilator Management in Children: Comparison to Nonprotocol Care

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The purpose of this study was to compare ventilator weaning time, time to spontaneous breathing, and overall ventilator hours duration with use of a ventilator management protocol (VMP) versus standard nonprotocol-based care in a pediatric intensive care unit. A multidisciplinary task force developed a comprehensive protocol for ventilator management with four specific phases: initial ventilator set up and adjustment, weaning, minimal settings, and spontaneous mode prior to extubation. Medical records of ventilated patients both before and after protocol implementation were reviewed. A total of 187 patients were studied (89 nonprotocol and 98 VMP patients). No differences were seen between groups in PRISM scores, Murray scores, or oxygenation indices, but VMP patients were significantly younger (P = .03). Ventilator weaning times (P = .005) and time to spontaneous breathing modes (P = .006) were significantly decreased in VMP patients compared to nonprotocol patients, but overall ventilator duration was not significantly different. No significant differences were seen in extubation failure, use of corticos-teroids, or use of racemic epinephrine between groups. Use of an institution-specific VMP developed by a multi-disciplinary team was associated with significantly reduced ventilator weaning time and time to spontaneous breathing. Further studies are needed.

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