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Chin Med J (Engl). 2013;126(10):1814-8.

Computer-driven automated weaning reduces weaning duration in difficult-to-wean patients.

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  • 1Department of Critical Care Medicine, Nanjing Zhongda Hospital, Southeast University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210009, China.



Weaning difficulties occur in 31% of total intubated patients, and result in prolonged weaning duration. A computer-driven automated weaning system can perform a spontaneous breathing trial (SBT) automatically and display a message when the trial is successfully passed. Such a system might have a beneficial effect on difficult-to-wean patients. The aim of this study was to examine whether the computer-driven automated weaning system can accelerate discontinuation of mechanical ventilation and improve outcomes in difficult-to-wean patients.


This randomized controlled study included 39 difficult-to-wean patients who failed their first spontaneous breathing trial. Before initiating weaning, eligible patients were randomly allocated to wean by computer-driven automated weaning system (CDW group, n = 19) or a physician-controlled local protocol (PW group, n = 20). Weaning duration, defined as the time from inclusion until first extubation, was the primary endpoint. Secondary endpoints were total duration of mechanical ventilation, the length of intensive care unit (ICU) stay, the number of reintubations, the mortality rate in the ICU, the number of noninvasive ventilations, the number of complications in the ICU, and the number of ventilator-associated pneumonia cases.


The weaning duration was reduced with the computer-driven weaning as compared with the usual protocol (median 29.0 hours vs. 45.5 hours, P = 0.044). Total duration of mechanical ventilation and duration of the ICU stay did not differ between the CDW and PW groups. There was no difference in the number of reintubations between the CDW and PW groups (3 and 4 patients, P = 0.732). The study groups showed comparable numbers of tracheostomy, self-extubations, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and non-invasive ventilation. Mortality in the ICU was similar in the CDW and the PW groups (21.1% vs. 20.0%, P = 0.935).


The computer-driven automated weaning system can reduce weaning duration in difficult-to-wean patients as compared with a physician-controlled weaning protocol.

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