Liberal manipulation of ventilator settings and its impact on tracheostomy rate and ventilator-free days

Ariel M. Modrykamien, Lori Killian, Ryan W. Walters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The utilization of checklists, bundles, and protocols attempts to provide standardization in the delivery of patient care. Despite important progress obtained in the prevention of hospitalacquired infections, the daily management of mechanical ventilation is still prone to heterogeneity, depending on the number of providers manipulating the ventilator. Whether the number of changes made on ventilator parameters impacts clinical outcomes remains unknown. METHODS: A quality improvement project was designed to assess whether liberal manipulations of ventilator settings affect the rate of tracheostomy and 28 ventilator-free days. Over the course of 7 d, respiratory therapists recorded all ventilator changes in newly ventilated subjects. Ventilator changes were considered as major changes if manipulations included changes in the mode of ventilation. Minor changes included manipulations of settings within the samemode of ventilation. We evaluated whether the number of total and major changes affected clinical outcomes. Logistic regression was used for multivariate analysis. RESULTS: One-hundred seventeen ventilator manipulations were recorded among 54 subjects. Of those 117 ventilator changes, 35% were major manipulations. For every major ventilator manipulation, the odds of requiring tracheostomy increased 4.95 times. Furthermore, for every major ventilator change, there was an 18.6% decrease in 28 ventilator-free days. These associations were found after adjustments by APACHE (Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation) II score, body mass index, and type of ICU. The total number of changes was not associated with either primary outcome measure. CONCLUSIONS: The number of major ventilator manipulations is associated with rate of tracheostomy and stay on the ventilator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-35
Number of pages6
JournalRespiratory Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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