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Volume 3 Supplement 1


  • Poster presentation
  • Open Access

Ultrasonographically diagnosed diaphragmatic dysfunction and weaning failure from mechanical ventilation in critically ill patients

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Intensive Care Medicine Experimental20153 (Suppl 1) :A454

  • Published:


  • Receiver Operating Characteristic Curve
  • Medical Intensive Care Unit
  • Muscle Thickness
  • Inspiratory Muscle
  • Sofa Score


Clinical data suggest that diaphragmatic dysfunction (DD) is associated with difficult weaning from mechanical ventilation. However, studies focusing specifically on diaphragmatic function in this setting are scarce.


To predict the outcome of a spontaneous breathing trial (SBT) through the ultrasonographic assessment of diaphragmatic and intercostal muscle function.


Mechanically ventilated patients from a 16-bed medical intensive care unit (ICU) were prospectively included before starting an SBT. Diaphragmatic function was estimated by the intrathoracic depression induced by anterior magnetic phrenic stimulation (Ptr,stim) and by performing an ultrasonography of the right hemidiaphragm. Intercostal muscle function was assessed using ultrasonography of the second right anterior intercostal space. We measured expiratory and peak inspiratory muscle thickness (Tde and Tdi respectively) and muscle thickening fraction (TFD and TFIC for diaphragm and intercostal), defined as (Tdi - Tde)/Tdi.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) Score was also used to detect peripheral muscle weakness.

Successful weaning (SW) was defined by extubation after SBT without reintubation in the following 48 hours and weaning failure (WF) by a failed SBT or a reintubation in the 48 hours after extubation. DD was defined by a value of Ptr,stim of less than -11 cmH2O.


Forty patients were included (age 55 ± 18): 27 and 13 patients in the SW and WF group respectively. Mean SOFA score was 5 ± 3 and length of mechanical ventilation the day of the SBT was 7 ± 3 days.

Compared to SW patients, WF patients had lower Ptr,stim (6.1 ± 0.7 vs 13.6 ± 1.2 cmH2O p < 0.001), lower TFD (21.2 ± 6 vs 35.6 ± 13% p < 0.01), lower MRC score (40.3 vs 55.7, p < 0.01) and higher TFIC (26.7 ± 15 vs 10.4 ± 6%, p < 0.01). Areas under the receiver operating characteristics curves to predict WF were 0.86, 0.84, 0.88 and 0.88 for Ptr,stim, TFD, MRC score and TFIC respectively (all p < 0.05). The best Ptr,stim and TFD thresholds to predict WF were 8.2 cm H2O and 29%, respectively.

Ptr,stim was significantly correlated with TFd, MRC score and TFic (rho = 0.88, 0.55 and -0.90 respectively).

Among patients with DD, only 46% were successfully separated from the ventilator whereas all patients without DD were successfully separated from the ventilator (p < 0.001).


Ptr,stim, TFD, MRC and TFIC are strong predictors of weaning outcome.

Our findings support the hypothesis that diaphragmatic dysfunction is significantly, although not systematically, associated with weaning failure.

Grant Acknowledgment

Martin DRES was supported by Assistance Publique Hôpitaux de Paris

Authors’ Affiliations

Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Université Paris 06, INSERM, UMRS 1158 Neurophysiologie Respiratoire Expérimentale et Clinique, Paris, France
AP-HP, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière Charles Foix, Service de Pneumologie et Réanimation Médicale (Département 'R3S'), Paris, France


© Dubé et al.; 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.