, Volume 22, Issue 10, pp 1052-1056

Clinical consequences of the implementation of a weaning protocol

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To analyze the clinical and economic consequences of the implementation of a weaning protocol in patients mechanically ventilated (MV) for more than 48 h.


Comparative study


General intensive care unit (ICU) in a county hospital covering 360 000 inhabitants.


51 patients weaned by a fixed protocol were studied prospectively and compared with 50 retrospective controls.


The following variables were assessed: Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score, age, cause of respiratory failure, type of extubation (direct extubation or extubation using a weaning technique), number of days on MV before the weaning trial, weaning time, total duration of MV, complications (reintubations and tracheostomies), length of ICU stay, and mortality.


The groups were comparble in terms of age, APACHE II score, and main cause of acute respiratory failure. Number of days on MV up to the weaning trial were similar in the two groups (8.4±7.7 in the protocol group vs 7.5±5.5 in the control group, NS). Most of the patients (80%) in the protocol group were directly extubated without a weaning technique, unlike the control group (10%) (p<0.01). When a weaning technique was used, the weaning time was similar in both groups (3.5±3.9 days vs 3.6±2.2 days in the control group). Duration of MV was shorter in the protocol group (10.4±11.6 days) than in the control group (14.4±10.3 days) (p<0.05). As a result, the ICU stay was reduced by using the weaning protocol (16.7±16.5 days vs 20.3±13.2 days in the control group,p<0.05). We found no differences in reintubation rate (17 vs 14% in the control group) and need for tracheostomies (2 vs 8% in the control group).


The implementation of a weaning protocol decreased the duration of MV and ICU stay by increasing the number of safe, direct extubations.