Indexed on: 19 Jun '17Published on: 19 Jun '17Published in: BMC Pulmonary Medicine
In patients with post-extubation respiratory distress, delayed reintubation may worsen clinical outcomes. Objective measures of extubation failure at the bedside are lacking, therefore clinical parameters are currently used to guide the need of reintubation. Electrical activity of the diaphragm (EAdi) provides clinicians with valuable, objective information about respiratory drive and could be used to monitor respiratory effort.We describe the case of a patient with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), from whom we recorded EAdi during four different ventilatory conditions: 1) invasive mechanical ventilation, 2) spontaneous breathing trial (SBT), 3) unassisted spontaneous breathing, and 4) Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation (NPPV). The patient had been intubated due to an exacerbation of COPD, and after four days of mechanical ventilation, she passed the SBT and was extubated. Clinical signs of respiratory distress were present immediately after extubation, and EAdi increased compared to values obtained during mechanical ventilation. As we started NPPV, EAdi decreased substantially, indicating muscle unloading promoted by NPPV, and we used the EAdi signal to monitor respiratory effort during NPPV. Over the next three days, she was on NPPV for most of the time, with short periods of spontaneous breathing. EAdi remained considerably lower during NPPV than during spontaneous breathing, until the third day, when the difference was no longer clinically significant. She was then weaned from NPPV and discharged from the ICU a few days later.EAdi monitoring during NPPV provides an objective parameter of respiratory drive and respiratory muscle unloading and may be a useful tool to guide post-extubation ventilatory support. Clinical studies with continuous EAdi monitoring are necessary to clarify the meaning of its absolute values and changes over time.