Incidence, outcomes and outcome prediction of unplanned extubation in critically ill children: An 11 year experience

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Unplanned extubation represents loss of control in the ICU, is associated with harm and is used as a measure of quality of care. We evaluated the rates and consequences of unplanned extubation.

Materials and methods:

Eligible patients were intubated, <18 years, and in ICU. Patient, care-related and environmental characteristics were compared in patients who did and did not receive positive pressure ventilation in the 24 h after events. Rates are expressed per 100 intubation-days.


The 11,310 eligible patient-admissions identified were intubated for 75,519 days; 410 (3.39%) patients had 458 unplanned extubation events (0.61 events/100 intubation-days). Annual rates of unplanned extubation reduced from 0.98 in 2004 to 0.37 in 2014. Consequences occurred in 245 (53.5%) events and included cardiac arrest in 9 (2%), bradycardia 52 (11%), and stridor 63 (14%). Positive pressure was provided after 263 (57%) events, and was independently associated with pre-event sedative and muscle relaxant drugs, non-use of restraints, respiratory reason for intubation and recent care by more nurses.


Unplanned extubation was associated with both significant and no morbidity. Modification of factors including more consistent nurse staffing, restraint use, and increased vigilance in patients with previous events may potentially reduce rates and adverse consequences of unplanned extubation.

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