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Chest. 1994 Feb;105(2):540-3.

Rapid shallow breathing (frequency-tidal volume ratio) did not predict extubation outcome.

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Department of Medicine, National University Hospital, Singapore.


This was a prospective study of 52 patients that were extubated in our medical intensive care unit. Rapid shallow breathing, represented by a ratio of frequency to tidal volume (f/VT) of more than 105, was evaluated either on continuous positive airway pressure or pressure support prior to extubation as a marker of extubation outcome. Twelve out of 13 patients (92 percent) with rapid shallow breathing (f/VT ratio > 105) were successfully extubated. Out of 9 extubation failures only 1 patient had a f/VT ratio more than 105 (11 percent). A measured f/VT ratio of less than 105 had a sensitivity and specificity of 72 and 11 percent, respectively, for extubation success. Patients who had unsuccessful outcomes were ventilated for a significantly more prolonged period (9.6 +/- 6.8 d vs 4.6 +/- 3.9 d, unpaired t test, p = 0.004). We conclude that the presence of rapid shallow breathing during a weaning trial with the patient on partial ventilatory support does not necessarily preclude successful extubation.

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