Risk Factors for Pediatric Extubation Failure: The Importance of Respiratory Muscle Strength*

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Abstract

Objective:

Respiratory muscle weakness frequently develops during mechanical ventilation, although in children there are limited data about its prevalence and whether it is associated with extubation outcomes. We sought to identify risk factors for pediatric extubation failure, with specific attention to respiratory muscle strength.

Design:

Secondary analysis of prospectively collected data.

Setting:

Tertiary care PICU.

Patients:

Four hundred nine mechanically ventilated children.

Interventions:

Respiratory measurements using esophageal manometry and respiratory inductance plethysmography were made preextubation during airway occlusion and on continuous positive airway pressure of 5 and pressure support of 10 above positive end-expiratory pressure 5 cm H2O, as well as 5 and 60 minutes postextubation.

Measurements and Main Results:

Thirty-four patients (8.3%) were reintubated within 48 hours of extubation. Reintubation risk factors included lower maximum airway pressure during airway occlusion (aPiMax) preextubation, longer length of ventilation, postextubation upper airway obstruction, high respiratory effort postextubation (pressure rate product, pressure time product, tension time index), and high postextubation phase angle. Nearly 35% of children had diminished respiratory muscle strength (aPiMax ≤ 30 cm H2O) at the time of extubation, and were nearly three times more likely to be reintubated than those with preserved strength (aPiMax > 30 cm H2O; 14% vs 5.5%; p = 0.006). Reintubation rates exceeded 20% when children with low aPiMax had moderately elevated effort after extubation (pressure rate product > 500), whereas children with preserved aPiMax had reintubation rates greater than 20% only when postextubation effort was very high (pressure rate product > 1,000). When children developed postextubation upper airway obstruction, reintubation rates were 47.4% for those with low aPiMax compared to 15.4% for those with preserved aPiMax (p = 0.02). Multivariable risk factors for reintubation included acute neurologic disease, lower aPiMax, postextubation upper airway obstruction, higher preextubation positive end-expiratory pressure, higher postextubation pressure rate product, and lower height.

Conclusions:

Neuromuscular weakness at the time of extubation was common in children and was independently associated with reintubation, particularly when postextubation effort was high.

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