Pulmonary Dead Space Fraction and Extubation Success in Children After Cardiac Surgery*

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Abstract

Objectives:

1) Determine the correlation between pulmonary dead space fraction and extubation success in postoperative pediatric cardiac patients; and 2) document the natural history of pulmonary dead space fractions, dynamic compliance, and airway resistance during the first 72 hours postoperatively in postoperative pediatric cardiac patients.

Design:

A retrospective chart review.

Setting:

Cardiac ICU in a quaternary care free-standing children’s hospital.

Patients:

Twenty-nine with balanced single ventricle physiology, 61 with two ventricle physiology.

Interventions:

None.

Measurements and Main Results:

We collected data for all pediatric patients undergoing congenital cardiac surgery over a 14-month period during the first 72 hours postoperatively as well as prior to extubation. Overall, patients with successful extubations had lower preextubation dead space fractions and shorter lengths of stay. Single ventricle patients had higher initial postoperative and preextubation dead space fractions. Two-ventricle physiology patients had higher extubation failure rates if the preextubation dead space fraction was greater than 0.5, whereas single ventricle patients had similar extubation failure rates whether preextubation dead space fractions were less than or equal to 0.5 or greater than 0.5. Additionally, increasing initial dead space fraction values predicted prolonged mechanical ventilation times. Airway resistance and dynamic compliance were similar between those with successful extubations and those who failed.

Conclusions:

Initial postoperative dead space fraction correlates with the length of mechanical ventilation in two ventricle patients but not in single ventricle patients. Lower preextubation dead space fractions are a strong predictor of successful extubation in two ventricle patients after cardiac surgery, but may not be as useful in single ventricle patients.

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