BACKGROUND: Outcomes management that uses critical pathways may decrease costs while improving outcomes for patients who require prolonged mechanical ventilation. OBJECTIVE: To study the efficacy of an outcomes-managed approach to weaning patients from prolonged (more than 3 days) mechanical ventilation. METHODS: A method of multidisciplinary care delivery was designed that included an outcomes manager, a care pathway for patients receiving mechanical ventilation, and weaning protocols. Data collection consisted of three parts: a retrospective review of 124 patients who required prolonged ventilation during a 1-year period before implementation of the care model, a 6-month prospective study in which 91 patients were alternately assigned by month to an outcomes-managed approach or a non-outcomes-managed approach, and a 6-month prospective study of 90 patients in which an outcomes-managed approach without alternate-month assignment was used. RESULTS: Outcomes management had no significant effect on total duration of mechanical ventilation or length of stay in the hospital, days of mechanical ventilation without tracheostomy, days of mechanical ventilation with tracheostomy, or outcome (weaned, withdrawal from mechanical ventilation, death, or transfer without weaning). However, duration of mechanical ventilation was 1.3 days shorter, length of stay in the hospital was 2.1 days shorter, and the cost per case was $ 3341 less for patients in the outcomes-managed group than for patients in the non-outcomes-managed group. CONCLUSION: Outcomes-managed care did not have a significant effect on duration of ventilation, length of stay in the hospital, or outcome in patients receiving long-term mechanical ventilation.
BACKGROUND: Nursing textbooks and tradition suggest that the high-Fowler's position is best to optimize diaphragmatic excursion and effective breathing pattern. The optimal position for intubated patients with obesity, ascites or abdominal distention has yet to be determined but is important because weaning trial outcomes may reflect the effect of position rather than weaning trial tolerance. OBJECTIVE: To determine the body position that optimizes breathing pattern (tidal volume and respiratory rate) in spontaneously breathing, intubated patients with a large abdomen. METHODS: Nineteen intubated patients with abdominal distention, ascites or obesity who were on continuous positive airway pressure or the pressure support ventilation mode were studied in the 0 degrees, 45 degrees, 90 degrees and reverse Trendelenburg's at 45 degrees positions for 5 minutes prior to data collection. RESULTS: The RT at 45 degrees position resulted in a significantly larger tidal volume and lower respiratory rate than the 90 degrees position in intubated, spontaneously breathing patients with a large abdomen. The 45 degrees position resulted in a significantly lower respiratory rate than at 90 degrees; however, no difference in tidal volume was demonstrated. DISCUSSION: A high respiratory rate and low tidal volume potentiates atelectasis and ultimately failure to wean. It is important that the effect of positioning on breathing pattern in intubated patients be determined so that care planning results in optimal outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study have implications for the selection of chair and bed positioning during weaning trials.