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Pulmonary mechanics in patients with prolonged mechanical ventilation requiring tracheostomy

Respiratory Care Unit, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan


This study was performed to assess the changes in pulmonary mechanics before and after tracheostomy in patients with prolonged mechanical ventilation and to detect pre-tracheostomy physiologic factors that predict the outcome of weaning from mechanical ventilation. Pulmonary mechanics were recorded before and after tracheostomy in 20 patients. Work of breathing, mean airway resistance and pressure/time product showed no significant differences after tracheostomy. Peak inspiratory pressure was significantly reduced (pre 33.4 ± 11.8 vs post 28.6 ± 9.2 mmHg). There was no difference in age or duration of mechanical ventilation between two different groups according to the outcome (weaned and not-weaned). Pre-tracheostomy intrinsic positive end expiratory pressure (PEEPi) was significantly lower in the weaned group (1.1 ± 1.6 vs 2.7 ± 1.4 mmHg). A significant difference was also found in pre-tracheostomy compliance (Cstatic) (47.3 ± 36.9 vs 28.8 ± 16.5 ml/cm H2O). We concluded that tracheostomy changed pulmonary mechanics very little except for a fall in peak inspiratory pressure. Patients who had better underlying lung mechanics (higher Cstatic and lower PEEPi) had better chances of weaning from mechanical ventilation after tracheostomy.

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