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Chest. 1998 Nov;114(5):1363-7.

Frequency, causes, and outcome of home ventilator failure.

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1
Division of Pediatric Pulmonology, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, University of Southern California School of Medicine, 90027, USA.

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVES:

The safety of home ventilators has been questioned. We collected data to study the following: frequency of home ventilator failure, apparent causes for the failure or malfunction, and adverse consequences following the failure.

STUDY DESIGN:

Information on all requests to correct home ventilator failures reported to a home respiratory equipment vendor was collected prospectively between November 1991, and November 1992.

PATIENTS:

There were 150 ventilator-assisted patients aged 2 to 77 years; 44 were < or = 18 years. They received 841,234 h of home mechanical ventilation (average, 15.4 h/d per ventilator-assisted patient).

RESULTS:

There were 189 reports of home ventilator failure. Defective equipment or mechanical failure was found in only 39% (73 reports), equivalent to one home ventilator failure for every 1.25 years of continuous use. Other causes of ventilator failure included the following: improper care, damage, or tampering with the ventilator by caregivers (13%), functional equipment improperly used by caregivers (30%), and equipment functional but the patient's condition changed, mimicking ventilator failure (3%). No problem could be identified in 16%. The following actions were required: ventilator replacement (44%), repair of a defective part (6%), replacement of a functioning ventilator for psychological comfort (14%), ventilator adjustments made (21%), caregiver reeducation (7%), caregiver anxiety or distress reduced (3%), and no action required (4%). Hospitalization was required only in two cases (1%). No adverse outcomes, deaths, or serious injuries were associated with home ventilator failure.

CONCLUSIONS:

We conclude that in 150 patients requiring home mechanical ventilation, ventilator failure occurred relatively infrequently, and there were no adverse outcomes as a result of equipment failure at home. We speculate that equipment failure is not a frequent or serious problem for ventilator-assisted patients treated at home.

PMID:
9824015
DOI:
10.1378/chest.114.5.1363
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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