Recent findings: Cardiac dysfunction is probably one of the most common causes of weaning failure. Several studies have evaluated the ability of B-natriuretic peptides and echocardiographic tools to predict weaning outcome due to cardiac origin, attempting to prevent its failure. Noninvasive ventilation may have a potential benefit in preventing respiratory failure after extubation of hypercapnic patients, although more studies are needed to define a target population.

Summary: Current research is focusing on preventing extubation failure, especially in the most challenging cases. The use of weaning protocols – written or computerized – attempts to early identify patients who are able to breathe spontaneously and to hasten extubation, resulting in better outcomes. Nevertheless, individualized care is needed in the most vulnerable patients, trying to prompt weaning without exposing patients to unnecessary risks.

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