Last updated on April 2018

The NEUROlogically-impaired Extubation Timing Trial

Brief description of study

This randomized controlled trial will enrol patients with acute severe brain injury who pass a spontaneous breathing trial but have decreased level of consciousness. It will directly compare (1) prompt extubation vs. (2) usual care, with extubation or tracheostomy timed according to physicians' discretion. The primary outcome will be ICU free days (days spent alive and outside an ICU).

Detailed Study Description

Thousands of patients suffer severe brain injuries every year, from causes such as trauma, stroke, and infection. Extensive clinical research in weaning from mechanical ventilation has led to recommendations for prompt extubation following a successful trial of spontaneous breathing in general intensive care unit (ICU). However, little evidence exists to guide decisions about when to remove the breathing tube in patients with severe brain injury. It is unclear which of the following strategies would optimize important patient outcomes: prompt extubation vs. waiting and extubating or performing a tracheostomy, timed according to physicians' discretion. Each strategy has associated risks: prompt extubation may lead to higher rates of extubation failure and reintubation, whereas waiting longer may expose patients to complications from prolonged mechanical ventilation and tracheostomy may lead to procedural complications (or unnecessary procedures, if prompt extubation would be successful). This trial in brain-injured patients will test which of the following will lead to better patient outcomes: (1) removing the endotracheal tube promptly once a spontaneous breathing trial is passed; or (2) usual care, with the airway management strategy selected according to the preference of the treating physician.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02920580

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