American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

Failure of weaning from mechanical ventilation is thought to result from an imbalance between respiratory muscle capacity and respiratory demand. The ratio of respiratory rate to tidal volume (f/VT, rapid shallow breathing index) during spontaneous unsupported respiration increases when this imbalance exists, and may predict the success or failure of weaning from mechanical ventilation. Using f/VT, Yang and Tobin demonstrated a positive predictive value (PPV) of 0.78 (f/VT < or = 105 and weaning success) (1). To define the etiology of the 20% false-positive rate (FPR, f/VT < or = 105 and weaning failure), 94 patients who had an f/VT determined prior to extubation were studied prospectively. Of 84 patients with an f/VT < 100, 14 required reintubation within 72 h of extubation (FPR = 0.17, PPV = 0.83). Extubation in 13 of these 14 cases failed because of congestive heart failure, upper airway obstruction, aspiration, encephalopathy, or the development of a new pulmonary process. Only one patient needed reintubation solely because of the original respiratory process. Of 10 patients extubated with an f/VT > or = 100, four required reintubation, all because of the underlying respiratory process. This study confirms the high PPV for an f/VT < 100. The FPR of approximately 0.20 is best explained by extubation failure caused by processes for which f/VT is physiologically or temporally unlikely to predict success or failure. The negative predictive value (f/VT > or = 100 but extubation success) for f/VT may be lower than previously reported.

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American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
152
2

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