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Rivista di Anestesia, Rianimazione, Terapia Antalgica e Terapia Intensiva

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Anesthesiology, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care
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Minerva Anestesiologica 2007 July-August;73(7-8):417-27


lingua: Inglese

Weaning from mechanical ventilation: an open issue

Caroleo S. 1, Agnello F. 2, Abdallah K. 1, Santangelo E. 3, Amantea B. 3

1 Unit of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Mater Domini Hospital, Catanzaro, Italy; 2 Specialization School in Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Magna Graecia University, Catanzaro, Italy; 3 Unit of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Magna Graecia University, Catanzaro, Italy


Weaning from mechanical ventilation represents one of the main challenges facing ICU physicians. Difficult weaning affects about 25% of critical patients undergoing mechanical ventilation. Its duration correlates on one hand with pathophysiological aspects of the underlying disease and, on the other hand, with other factors such as the development of neuromyopathy of the critically ill patient, prolonged use of sedative-hypnotic drugs and, most of all, physicians’ reluctance to identify the correct timing of therapeutic steps for weaning and subsequent extubation. The goal of adopting weaning protocols is to overcome problems due to an exclusively clinical opinion. Protocols have to be used together with daily clinical evaluation of the patient and the procedure must be carried out by an ICU team of both medical and nursing staff. Attempts to wean a patient from a ventilator and extubate him should be made through a spontaneous breathing trial (SBT) with T-tube or pressure support ventilation (PSV) with pressure support of 7-8 cmH2O ± PEEP ≥ 4 cmH2O. Proper recourse to non invasive mechanical ventilation (NIMV) and an accurate timing for tracheostomy are effective tools which can be used by physicians to facilitate weaning and to improve patient outcomes.

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