A Novel Weaning Protocol for High-Flow Nasal Cannula in the PICU
High-flow nasal cannula use in the PICU continues to increase; however, a protocol for weaning patients has yet to be published. This study aimed to create an efficient and safe protocol for weaning high-flow nasal cannula.Design:
A Respiratory Assessment Score was created using two validated scoring systems. A protocol was established for set “holidays” off high-flow nasal cannula, where nasal cannula flow was reduced to age-based low-flow nasal cannula rates if Respiratory Assessment Scores met certain criteria.Setting:
The PICU at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, a quaternary level hospital affiliated with Emory University.Patients:
Patients treated in the PICU with high-flow nasal cannula from August 2013 to March 2014. Exclusions included apnea, heliox therapy, oxygen saturations less than 92% with a FIO2 greater than 50%, admitted to PICU less than 6 hours, progression to intubation prior to scoring, or those ordered by physician to not receive holidays based on clinical status.Interventions:
Patients who qualified for a “holiday” based on Respiratory Assessment Score were trialed off high-flow nasal cannula and rescored afterwards to assess tolerance.Measurements and Main Results:
One hundred thirty-three patients were treated with high-flow nasal cannula, with the most common diagnosis being bronchiolitis (43%). Of these 133 patients, 119 (89.5%) successfully weaned to low-flow nasal cannula within four holiday attempts. Eighty-three patients (70%) weaned with only one attempt. Fourteen patients (10.5%) failed to wean. Reasons for failure were reintubation, increasing flow on high-flow nasal cannula, too high of Respiratory Assessment Score to meet weaning criteria, or slow weaning after failed attempts. Holidays did not precipitate clinical deterioration or lead to immediate intubation.Conclusions:
Our study suggests that a high-flow nasal cannula “holiday” protocol is a safe and effective way to successfully wean PICU patients off high-flow nasal cannula. Additional investigation including validation of the scoring system used is warranted.