Patients who experienced “prolonged” weaning from mechanical ventilation had significantly higher mortality rates than patients who experienced either “simple” or “difficult” weaning, according to a study published in the Journal of Critical Care.

Researchers examined the weaning of patients in ICUs in order to determine the incidence and outcome of weaning based on new proposed classifications made at the International Consensus Conference. Those classifications would divide weaning of patients into “simple,” “difficult,” and “prolonged” weaning groups based on the difficulty and length of the weaning process.

In total, 343 patients were included in the final analysis. Simple, difficult, and prolonged weaning occurred in 200 (58%), 99 (29%), and 44 (13%) patients, respectively. Hospital mortality rates were higher for patients in the prolonged weaning group than in the simple and difficult weaning groups.

Multivariate analysis revealed that a lower Glasgow Coma Scale score (P < .014) and hypercapnia at the beginning of the first spontaneous breathing trial (P = .038) were independent predictors of prolonged weaning.