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Ventilator weaning and extubation practices in critically ill children: An Australian and New Zealand survey of practice

Published:August 27, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aucc.2022.06.004

      Abstract

      Objectives

      We aimed to (i) describe current weaning and extubation practices in children (protocols to identify weaning candidates, spontaneous breathing trials, and other aspects of care such as sedation weaning) and (ii) understand responsibilities for ventilation weaning decisions across Australia and New Zealand (ANZ).

      Methods

      A cross-sectional survey of ANZ intensive care units who routinely intubate and ventilate children (<18 years) was conducted. We worked with the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Paediatric Study Group to identify units and potential respondents (senior nurse representative per unit) and to administer questionnaires. Survey questions (n = 35) examined current protocols, practices, unit staffing, and decision-making responsibilities for ventilation weaning and extubation. Open-ended questions examined respondents' experiences of weaning and extubation.

      Results

      A senior nursing respondent from 18/22 intensive care units (82%) completed the survey. Across units, most used sedation assessment tools (88%), and less often, sedation weaning tools (55%). Spontaneous awakening protocols were not used; one unit (5%) reported the use of a spontaneous breathing protocol. Two respondents reported that ventilation weaning protocols (11%) were in use, with 44% of units reporting the use of extubation protocols. Weaning and extubation practices were largely perceived as medically driven, with qualitative data demonstrating a desire from most respondents for greater shared decision-making.

      Conclusion

      In ANZ, ventilation weaning and extubation practices are largely medically driven with variation in the use of protocols to support mechanical ventilation weaning and extubation in children. Our findings highlight the importance of future research to determine the impact of greater collaboration of the multidisciplinary team on weaning practices.

      Keywords

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