OBJECTIVE: To analyze the clinical impact of extubation failure (EF) in patients with good-grade subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), in whom a good clinical course usually is expected.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We reviewed the clinical data from 141 patients with SAH and 1) initial Hunt & Hess grade 1-3; 2) induction of general anesthesia for intervention; and 3) the presence of data about the functional outcome. Patients were divided into 3 groups: 1) primary tracheotomized patients (PT); 2) patients with successful extubation (ES); and 3) patients with EF (reintubation within 48 hours).
RESULTS: EF occurred with a rate of 0.12. The leading cause of EF was respiratory insufficiency (n = 7), followed by impaired consciousness (n = 5). Multivariate logistic regression did not show any neurologic predictor of EF. Patients with ES showed an excellent outcome after 6 months (favorable outcome: 95.7%), whereas the outcome of patients with EF and PT was significantly (P < 0.05) poorer. The case fatality rate was nonsignificantly greater in the EF group (0.15 vs. 0.03). Hospitalization was significantly reduced for patients with ES, whereas the occurrence of symptomatic cerebral vasospasms and vasospastic cerebral infarction was similar between patients with EF, ES, or PT.
CONCLUSIONS: We showed that EF is a frequent condition in good grade-SAH but is not predictable using common neurologic parameters. Regarding the functional outcome, we were able to show that the result of an extubation trial clearly delineates the patients in 2 distinct groups, in which ES predicts an excellent outcome.