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A low-cost educational intervention to reduce unplanned extubation in low-resourced pediatric intensive care units.

INTRODUCTION: Unplanned extubation (UE) is orders of magnitude worse in low-income Pediatric Intensive Care Units (PICUs) than their high-income counterparts. Furthermore, a significant percent (20 %) of UEs result in a destabilizing event or cardiac collapse that negatively contributes to morbidity and mortality. As the principles of safe airway management are universal, we hypothesize that a multi-disciplinary educational intervention bundle which included provision of low-cost cuffed endotracheal tubes (ETT) and ETT tape will decrease the rate of unplanned extubation (UE) in a low-resourced PICU.

METHODS: This is a pre-post interventional study powered to evaluate UE of intubated pediatric patients in an El Salvadorian PICU after a multi-disciplinary educational effort and provision of low-cost disposable materials. A multidisciplinary (otolaryngologists, intensivists, anesthesiologists, respiratory therapists, and nurses) educational curriculum involving hands on training, online video modules readily available via bedside QR codes, and pre- and post-testing was administered. The cost of the intervention materials was $1.32 per child. PICU mortality was evaluated as an exploratory outcome.

RESULTS: Nine-hundred and fifty-seven (859 pre-intervention and 98 post-intervention) patients met inclusion criteria. Patients with one or more UEs decreased significantly from 29.4 % to 17.3 % post-intervention (p = 0.01; CI: 0.28-0.88) with an odds ratio of 0.51. The use of a cuffed ETT increased from 12 % to 36 % (p < 0.001; CI: 0.17-0.44; OR:3.74) and cuffed ETT use was associated with a reduction in UE with an odds ratio of 0.40 (p < 0.001; CI: 0.24-0.66). Finally, there was a 4.3 % decrease in pediatric mortality from 26.7 % to 22.4 % that equates to a number needed to treat to prevent a single child mortality of 23. Therefore, the ICER per mortality prevented is $30.7 and the ICER per Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) is $0.44.

CONCLUSION: This multi-faceted intervention bundle is an accessible, scalable, cost-effective means to reduce UE and has implications in reducing global pediatric mortality.

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