Reduction in unintended extubations in a level IV neonatal intensive care unit

John P. Galiote, Michelande Ridoré, Jessica Carman, Lisa Zell, Karen Brant, Cheyenne Gayle, Billie L. Short, Darren Klugman, Lamia Soghier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Unintended extubations (UEs) lead to significant morbidity in neonates. A quality improvement project was initiated in response to high rates in our level IV NICU. We targeted creating and sustaining UE rates below the published standard of 1 per 100 ventilator days. METHODS: This project spanned 4 time periods: baseline, epoch 1 (December 2010–May 2012), sustain, and epoch 2 (May 2015–December 2017) by using standard quality improvement methodology. Epoch 1 interventions included real-time analysis of UE events, standardization of taping, patient positioning and movement, accurate event reporting, and change in nomenclature. Epoch 2 interventions included reduction in daily chest radiographs (CXRs) and development of a high-risk tool. Patient and event characteristics were statistically compared across time points. RESULTS: Of the 612 UE events recorded over 10 years, 249 UEs occurred from May 2011 to 2017 involving 184 unique patients. UE rates decreased by 43% (from 1.75 to 0.99 per 100 ventilator days; epoch 1) and were sustained until a notable spike. Epoch 2 interventions led to a further 31% rate reduction. Single CXR use decreased by half. Median corrected gestational age at the time of an event was 35 weeks (interquartile range: 29–41). Seventy percent of infants experiencing an UE required reintubation, 29% had a previous event, and 9% had a code event. CONCLUSIONS: A decrease in UE below benchmarks can be achieved and sustained by standardization and mitigation interventions. This decline was also accompanied by a reduction in use of CXRs without increasing UE events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberY
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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