Survival and prediction of successful ventilator weaning in COPD patients requiring mechanical ventilation for more than 21 days

S. Nava, F. Rubini, E. Zanotti, N. Ambrosino, C. Bruschi, M. Vitacca, C. Fracchia, C. Rampulla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We studied survival and failure or success of weaning from mechanical ventilation (MV) in 42 consecutive chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients requiring prolonged MV (more than 21 days) after an episode of acute respiratory failure requiring admission to our Intermediate Intensive Care Unit (IICU). Parameters including arterial blood gases, pulmonary function tests, respiratory muscle force, neuromuscular drive, and nutritional status were recorded during a phase of clinical stability, in order to identify the features related to survival and weaning. All the patients were submitted to a comprehensive rehabilitation programme. Successful weaning from MV was defined as complete respiratory autonomy for at least 48 h. Twenty three patients were successfully weaned from MV after an average period of 44 days (Group A), requiring no further MV during their stay in hospital, whilst the remaining 19 patients were not able to be disconnected from the ventilator (Group B). The discriminant analysis showed that weaning from MV was significantly associated with arterial carbon dioxide tension (PaCO2, neuromuscular drive (P0.1), maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP), arterial oxygen tension (PaO2), the ratio of respiratory frequency to tidal volume (f/VT) and the serum protein level. Other pulmonary function tests (forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), FEV1/forced vital capacity (FVC), anthropometric data, nutritional status, number of pulmonary exacerbations during MV and evidence of cor pulmonale, were similar in the two groups. The discriminant equation considering PaCO2 and MIP could separate the two groups with an accuracy of 84%. The overall survival at 2 yrs was 40%; in Group B it was significantly lower than in Group A (22 vs 68%). Most of the deaths occurred within the first 120 days after intubation. None of the parameters considered could significantly predict the survival rate. We conclude that more than half of COPD patients requiring prolonged MV (more than 21 days) could be successfully weaned. A simple equation including Pace, and MIP could correctly identify the weaning success or failure in about 84% of patients. The survival rate at 2 yrs is poor in those who could not be weaned, but is not associated with any of the indices considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1645-1652
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • Chronic obstnrctive pulmonary disease
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Predictive parameters
  • Survival
  • Weaning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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