Frequency of Screening for Weaning From Mechanical Ventilation: Two Contemporaneous Proof-of-Principle Randomized Controlled Trials* Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Objectives: It is unknown whether more frequent screening of invasively ventilated patients, identifies patients earlier for a spontaneous breathing trial, and shortens the duration of ventilation. We assessed the feasibility of conducting a large trial to evaluate screening frequency in critically ill adults in the North American context. Design: We conducted two contemporaneous, multicenter, pilot, randomized controlled trials (the LibeRation from MEchanicaL VEntilAtion and ScrEening Frequency [RELEASE] and Screening Elderly PatieNts For InclusiOn in a Weaning [SENIOR] trials) to address concerns regarding the potential for higher enrollment, fewer adverse events, and better outcomes in younger patients. Setting: Ten and 11 ICUs in Canada, respectively. Patients: Parallel trials of younger (RELEASE < 65 yr) and older (SENIOR ≥ 65 yr) critically ill adults invasively ventilated for at least 24 hours. Interventions: Each trial compared once daily screening to “at least twice daily” screening led by respiratory therapists. Measurements and Main Results: In both trials, we evaluated recruitment (aim: 1–2 patients/month/ICU) and consent rates, reasons for trial exclusion, protocol adherence (target: ≥ 80%), crossovers (aim: ≤ 10%), and the effect of the alternative screening frequencies on adverse events and clinical outcomes. We included 155 patients (53 patients [23 once daily, 30 at least twice daily] in RELEASE and 102 patients [54 once daily, 48 at least twice daily] in SENIOR). Between trials, we found similar recruitment rates (1.32 and 1.26 patients/month/ICU) and reasons for trial exclusion, high consent and protocol adherence rates (> 92%), infrequent crossovers, and few adverse events. Although underpowered, at least twice daily screening was associated with a nonsignificantly faster time to successful extubation and more successful extubations but significantly increased use of noninvasive ventilation in both trials combined. Conclusions: Similar recruitment and consent rates, few adverse events, and comparable outcomes in younger and older patients support conduct of a single large trial in North American ICUs assessing the net clinical benefits associated with more frequent screening.


  • Burns, Karen EA
  • Wong, Jessica TY
  • Dodek, Peter
  • Cook, Deborah
  • Lamontagne, Francois
  • Cohen, Ashley
  • Mehta, Sangeeta
  • Kho, Michelle
  • Hebert, Paul C
  • Aslanian, Pierre
  • Friedrich, Jan O
  • Brochard, Laurent
  • Rizvi, Leena
  • Hand, Lori
  • Meade, Maureen
  • Amaral, Andre C
  • Seely, Andrew J

publication date

  • June 2019

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