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Am Rev Respir Dis. 1991 Sep;144(3 Pt 1):531-7.

Evaluation of a new weaning index based on ventilatory endurance and the efficiency of gas exchange.

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University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville 22908.


We hypothesized that the ventilatory capacity needed to wean from mechanical ventilation (mv) depends on two variables: ventilatory endurance and the efficiency of gas exchange. We also hypothesized that these variables could be assessed from data readily available at the bedside, including tidal volume (VT) on mv and during spontaneous breathing (sb), ventilator peak inspiratory pressure (Ppk), and patient negative inspiratory pressure (NIP). Ventilatory endurance was evaluated using a modified pressure-time index: PTI = TI/Ttot x Pbreath/NIP, where Pbreath = Ppk x VTsb/VTmv. Defining VE40 as the minute ventilation needed to bring PaCO2 to 40 mm Hg, the efficiency of gas exchange was evaluated by calculating VE40/VTsb = (VE x PaCO2)mv/VTsb x 40. Because high levels of inspiratory effort might cause patients to reduce VTsb and thereby compromise CO2 elimination, we devised a weaning index (WI) that combines ventilatory endurance and the efficiency of gas exchange: WI = PTI x (VE40/VTsb). The study population comprised 38 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, adult respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, neuromuscular disease, and miscellaneous other conditions. They had been mechanically ventilated more than 3 days and were considered by clinical criteria to be ready for weaning. Of 46 weaning trials, 19 were successful, 2 were partially successful, and 25 failed. PTI and VE40/VTsb were higher in patients who failed (p less than 0.05), but neither variable alone had sufficient sensitivity or specificity to predict the outcome of weaning trials accurately.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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