The purposes of this article are to: identify gaps in the research literature on weaning adult patients from short-term mechanical ventilation, highlight the scientific base for practice guidelines, and suggest future research directions. Data bases from 1989 through June 1993 were reviewed, and relevant research articles were extracted, analyzed, and synthesized within the AACN Third National Study Group framework. Seminal work and other supportive literature also were used in this review. Despite considerable research on predictors and patient responses to weaning from short-term mechanical ventilation, few of the findings can be applied to clinical practice at this time. Less research is available on weaning modes and therapies that facilitate weaning from short-term mechanical ventilation; fruitful research in these areas depends in part on a better understanding of patient responses and accurate weaning predictors.

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