Extubation failure is the reintubation of patients meeting criteria for weaning from mechanical ventilation. Extubation failure is correlated with mortality, prolonged mechanical ventilation, and longer hospital stays. Noninvasive ventilation or high-flow nasal cannula oxygen therapy after extubation is recommended to prevent extubation failure in high-risk patients.

Local Problem

The extubation failure rate is unknown. Prophylactic measures (noninvasive ventilation or high-flow nasal cannula) after extubation are not commonly used and vary among clinicians. The objective was to assess extubation planning readiness by determining extubation failure rate, identifying high-risk patients, and determining prophylactic measure compliance.


A quality improvement initiative included an evidence-based extubation failure risk assessment that identified high-risk patients and determined prophylactic measure compliance. A 2-year retrospective medical record review was used to determine baseline patient characteristics and extubation failure rate. Results Extubation failure rate within the retrospective cohort was 13 of 146 patients (8.9%). Extubation failure did not correlate with previously identified risk factors; however, 150 identified patients were excluded from analysis. During risk assessment integration, the extubation failure rate was 3 of 37 patients (8.1%) despite identifying 24 high-risk patients (65%). Few high-risk patients received prophylactic measures (noninvasive ventilation, 17%; high-flow nasal cannula, 12%).


Extubation failure should be routinely measured because of its effects on patient outcomes. This project reveals the multifactorial nature of extubation failure. Further research is needed to assess patients’ risk and account for acute conditions. This project used best practice guidelines for routine patient care and added transparency to a previously unmeasured event.

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