Use of the AACN research-based practice protocol Weaning From Short-term Mechanical Ventilation is recommended for management of all patients who require mechanical ventilation for 3 days or less. Because many patients are extubated within hours of admission to the critical care unit after cardiac surgery, clinicians may think that these patients do not require assessment of readiness to wean. Although most can be weaned without difficulty, 1 in 5 (20%) has problems with weaning. Thus, every patient should be assessed for readiness to wean before mechanical ventilatory support is reduced substantially. Readiness to wean is a physiological threshold that indicates physiological stability and reserve capacity for the work of spontaneous ventilation.

Q: What are key indicators nurses should use when assessing patients for readiness to wean from mechanical ventilation after cardiac surgery?

A: Readiness to wean is determined by general physiological stability, hemodynamic stability, pulmonary mechanics, adequacy of gas exchange,...

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