Background: Ventilator liberation is one of the most challenging aspects in patients with respiratory failure. Most patients are weaned through a transition from full to partial respiratory support, whereas some advocate using a continuous spontaneous ventilation (CSV). However, there is little scientific evidence supporting the practice of pediatric ventilator liberation, including the timing of onset of and the approach to weaning mode. We sought to explore differences in patient effort between a pressure controlled intermittent mode of ventilation (PC-IMV) with or without pressure support (PS) with a reduced ventilator rate and CSV, and to study changes in patient effort with decreasing PS.
Methods: In this prospective physiology cross-over study, we randomized children <5 years to first PC-IMV ± PS with a 25% reduction in ventilator rate, or CSV (continuous positive airway pressure [CPAP] + PS). Patients were then crossed over to the other arm. Patient effort was measured by calculating work of breathing (WOB) using the Campbell diagram (WOBCampbell), and by pressure-rate-product (PRP) and pressure-time-product (PTP). Respiratory inductance plethysmography (RIP) was used to calculate the phase angle. Measurements were obtained at baseline, during PC-IMV ± PS and CPAP + PS, and during decreasing set PS (maximum -6 cmH2O).
Results: Thirty-six subjects with a median age of 4.4 (IQR 1.5 – 11.9) months and median ventilation time of 4.9 (IQR 3.4 – 7.0) days were included. Nearly all patients (94.4%) were admitted with primary respiratory failure. WOBCampbell during baseline (0.67 (IQR 0.38 – 1.07) Joules/L) did not differ between CSV (0.49 (IQR 0.17 – 0.83) Joules/L) or PC-IMV ± PS ± PS ±PS (0.47 (IQR 0.17 – 1.15) Joules/L). Neither PRP, PTP, ∆Pes nor phase angle was different between the two ventilator modes. Reducing pressure support resulted in a statistically significant increase in patient effort, albeit that these differences were clinically negligible.
Conclusions: Patient effort during pediatric ventilation liberation was not increased when patients were in a CSV mode of ventilation compared to a ventilator mode with a ventilator back-up rate. Reducing the level of PS did not lead to clinically relevant increases in patient effort. These data may aid in a better approach to pediatric ventilation liberation.
Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov NCT05254691. Registered 24 February 2022