Invasive Ventilation Weaning Service

To wean patients off invasive ventilation

Weaning patients off prolonged mechanical ventilation is highly complex and requires considerable medical expertise and experience. At the Royal Brompton Hospital, our consultants, intensivists, therapists and specialist nurses offer a specialist invasive ventilation weaning service. Our specialists are experts at the very sensitive and crucial stage of judging the point at which a patient has sufficient respiratory reserve to make the transition to non-invasive ventilation.

The timeliness of this service is vital to its success and requires an in-depth assessment before a fully tailored programme of integrated care is created. Treatment will include non-invasive weaning, and physiotherapy, speech and occupational therapy.

What are the benefits?

Weaning patients off mechanical ventilation can be the first step towards discharge from hospital and domiciliary (at home) ventilation or care. Once successfully weaned off invasive ventilation, many patients will experience a vastly improved quality of life, which can include unimpeded speech and feeding.

Are there any alternatives?

There is often no alternative to invasive weaning for patients with complex lung conditions. As a result, the only alternative to invasive ventilation weaning is for a patient to remain on a mechanical ventilator. Where specialists believe it is possible and safe to wean a patient off, a specialist programme of care will be devised following in-depth analysis. In the event that a patient cannot be weaned from invasive mechanical ventilation the team are also able to advise on the creation of a home ventilation program.

Judging in advance whether a patient can be successfully weaned from mechanical ventilation can be a delicate judgement so it is helpful if the most up to date and detailed medical reports can be provided. Sometimes it is helpful for one of our consultants to visit the patients in their hospital prior to transfer to Brompton.

What are the risks?

Weaning a patient off invasive ventilation is highly complex and the risks and benefits are very carefully considered before any decisions are taken. The main risk with this service is that a person’s lungs may not be able to function without the constant help of a mechanical ventilator. However, this is very carefully and constantly monitored by our specialists. Weaning can be the best option when the risks associated with remaining on mechanical ventilation – pneumonia, stenosis and respiratory muscle deconditioning, for example – outweigh the risks of weaning.

Consultants linked to treatment

Location where service is offered

Royal Brompton Hospital

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