OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the study was to describe the patterns of weaning from mechanical ventilation in young children recovering from acute hypoxemic respiratory failure. METHODS: Decision-making rules on progressive weaning were developed and applied to existing data on 82 patients 2 weeks to 6 years old in the Pediatric Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Data Set. RESULTS: Three patterns of weaning progress were detected: sprint, consistent, and inconsistent. Length of ventilation and weaning progressively increased from the sprint, to the consistent, to the inconsistent subset. Patients in the inconsistent subset were most likely to have a systemic (sepsis or shock) trigger of acute respiratory distress syndrome and to be rated as having at least moderate disability at discharge. Hypothesis-generating univariate and then multivariate logistic regression analyses indicated that patients who experienced more days of mechanical ventilation before the start of weaning and who had a higher oxygenation index during the weaning process were most likely to have an inconsistent pattern of weaning. CONCLUSION: Patterns of weaning are discernible in a population of young children and indicate a subset at risk for inconsistent weaning. Knowing the patterns of weaning may help clinicians anticipate, perhaps plot, and then modulate a patient's weaning trajectory.

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