In 2010, the incidence of prolonged mechanical ventilation (> 24 hours) after isolated coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery was 26.9% at the study site, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, compared with the national like-hospital rate of 10.9%.


To use the principles of lean management to reduce the incidence of prolonged mechanical ventilation and to assess the sustainability of that reduction over time.


A multidisciplinary prolonged ventilation task force conducted a gap analysis leading to 3 interventions: (1) a standardized extubation protocol, (2) dry erase boards in patients’ rooms to facilitate team communication, and (3) edits of the postoperative order set within the electronic health record. Outcomes of mechanical ventilation in CABG patients before and after the interventions are compared.


All target outcomes changed significantly after the interventions, including a reduction in the median hours of initial mechanical ventilation (from 11.4 hours to 6.9 hours, P < .001). The percentage of patients reintubated did not increase (a decrease from 11.8% to 3.5% was not significant, P = .08). The rate of prolonged ventilation decreased from 29.4% to 8.6% (P = .004), and this reduction was sustained for 4 years after the interventions.


Success factors included the multidisciplinary task force and continual protocol reeducation among front-line staff.

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