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Introduction to a Series of Systematic Reviews of Weaning From Mechanical Ventilation*

Maureen Meade, MD; Gordon Guyatt, MD; Lauren Griffith, MSc; Lynda Booker, BA; Jill Randall, RRT; Deborah J. Cook, MD
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*From the Departments of Medicine (Drs. Meade, Guyatt, and Cook) and Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics (Mss. Griffith and Booker), McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; and the Department of Respiratory Therapy (Ms. Randall), St. Joseph’s Hospital, Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

Correspondence to: D.J. Cook, MD, McMaster University, Faculty of Health Sciences Center, Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, 1200 Main St West, Hamilton L8N 3Z5, Ontario, Canada; e-mail: debcook@mcmaster.ca



Chest. 2001;120(6_suppl):396S-399S. doi:10.1378/chest.120.6_suppl.396S
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Why is weaning important? Over 90% of critically ill patients require mechanical ventilation, and 40% of the time the patient is receiving mechanical ventilation is spent in the process of weaning from it.1 Meanwhile, there are several concerns associated with prolonged mechanical ventilation. For patients, these concerns include heightened morbidity (including ventilator-associated pneumonia,24 ventilator-associated lung injury 57), and increased mortality89). Additionally, even if patients are recovering from their acute illness, as long as they remain dependent on mechanical ventilation, they generally remain in the ICU. In the context of widespread and unceasing ICU bed shortages, this is a problematic situation. Finally, challenges to health-care organizations include the additional resource consumption incurred when patients receive mechanical ventilation, such as increased nursing, need for a respiratory therapist, and equipment costs.

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