Frequency of Screening for Weaning From Mechanical Ventilation
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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.
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