Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 853–861 | Cite as

Diaphragmatic dysfunction in patients with ICU-acquired weakness and its impact on extubation failure

  • Boris Jung
  • Pierre Henri Moury
  • Martin Mahul
  • Audrey de Jong
  • Fabrice Galia
  • Albert Prades
  • Pierre Albaladejo
  • Gerald Chanques
  • Nicolas Molinari
  • Samir JaberEmail author



Diaphragm function is rarely studied in intensive care patients with unit-acquired weakness (ICUAW) in whom weaning from mechanical ventilation is challenging. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the diaphragm function and the outcome using a multimodal approach in ICUAW patients.


Patients were eligible if they were diagnosed for ICUAW [Medical Research Council (MRC) Score <48], mechanically ventilated for at least 48 h and were undergoing a spontaneous breathing trial. Diaphragm function was assessed using magnetic stimulation of the phrenic nerves (change in endotracheal tube pressure), maximal inspiratory pressure and ultrasonographically (thickening fraction). Diaphragmatic dysfunction was defined by a change in endotracheal tube pressure below 11 cmH2O. The endpoints were to describe the correlation between diaphragm function and ICUAW and its impact on extubation.


Among 185 consecutive patients ventilated for more than 48 h, 40 (22 %) with a MRC score of 31 [20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36] were included. Diaphragm dysfunction was observed with ICUAW in 32 patients (80 %). Change in endotracheal tube pressure and MRC score were not correlated. Maximal inspiratory pressure was correlated with change in endotracheal tube pressure after magnetic stimulation of the phrenic nerves (r = 0.43; p = 0.005) and MRC score (r = 0.34; p = 0.02). Thickening fraction was less than 20 % in 70 % of the patients and was statistically correlated with change in endotracheal tube pressure (r = 0.4; p = 0.02) but not with MRC score. Half of the patients could be extubated without needing reintubation within 72 h.


Diaphragm dysfunction is frequent in patients with ICU-acquired weakness (80 %) but poorly correlated with the ICU-acquired weakness MRC score. Half of the patients with ICU-acquired weakness were successfully extubated. Half of the patients who failed the weaning process died during the ICU stay.


Diaphragmatic dysfunction Mechanical ventilation Weaning Intensive care unit-acquired weakness Respiratory muscles 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

Boris Jung reports personal fees from Merck (Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA) and Astellas (Tokyo, Japan) without relations with the present study. Samir Jaber reports personal fees from Maquet, Draeger, Hamilton Medical, Fisher Paykel and Abbott without relations with the present study. Pierre Henri Moury, Martin Mahul, Audrey De Jong, Fabrice Gallia, Albert Prades, Pierre Albaladejo, Gerald Chanques and Nicolas Molinari have nothing to disclose related to the subject of the article.

Source of funding

This study was supported by University Hospital of Montpellier.

Supplementary material

134_2015_4125_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (52 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PPTX 52 kb)
134_2015_4125_MOESM2_ESM.docx (117 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 117 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg and ESICM 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Boris Jung
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pierre Henri Moury
    • 1
  • Martin Mahul
    • 1
  • Audrey de Jong
    • 1
  • Fabrice Galia
    • 1
  • Albert Prades
    • 1
  • Pierre Albaladejo
    • 3
    • 4
  • Gerald Chanques
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nicolas Molinari
    • 2
    • 5
  • Samir Jaber
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Intensive Care Unit, Anesthesia and Critical Care DepartmentSaint Eloi Teaching HospitalMontpellier Cedex 5France
  2. 2.Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS 9214), Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM U-1046)Montpellier UniversityMontpellierFrance
  3. 3.Pôle Anesthésie-RéanimationUJF-GrenobleGrenobleFrance
  4. 4.Université Grenoble Alpes/CNRS, ThEMAS TIMC UMR 5525GrenobleFrance
  5. 5.Department of StatisticsUniversity of Montpellier Lapeyronie HospitalMontpellierFrance

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