Protocol-directed vs. physician-directed weaning from ventilator in intra-abdominal surgical patients

Onuma Chaiwat, Niyomporn Sarima, Kussama Niyompanitpattana, Chulaluk Komoltri, Yuthana Udomphorn, Suneerat Kongsayreepong
Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand 2010, 93 (8): 930-6

BACKGROUND: Previous studies have demonstrated that protocol-directed weaning is better than physician-directed weaning in terms of shorter duration of mechanical ventilation in general critically ill patients. In this prospective, randomized controlled trial, the authors compared duration of mechanical ventilation between protocol based nurse-directed weaning and physician-directed weaning in patients following intra-abdominal surgery.

MATERIAL AND METHOD: One hundred intra-abdominal surgical patients requiring mechanical ventilation for more than 24 hours were randomly assigned to receive either protocol-directed (n=51) or physician-directed (n=49) weaning from mechanical ventilation. Patients assigned to the protocol-directed weaning group underwent daily screening and a spontaneous breathing trial by nursing staff

OUTCOMES: The primary outcome was the duration of mechanical ventilation.

RESULTS: The median duration of mechanical ventilation was 40 and 72 hrs in protocol-directed and physician-directed groups, respectively (p < 0.001). Two patients in the protocol-directed group and three patients in the physician directed group were re-intubated within the first 72 hours after extubation (p = 0.61).

CONCLUSION: Daily screening of respiratory function in intra-abdominal surgical patients followed by trials ofspontaneous breathing performed by nurses resulted in a shorter duration of mechanical ventilation when compared to traditional physician-directed weaning.

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