What we are studying
Mechanical ventilation can be life saving strategy for patients with respiratory failure due to a variety of reasons. Once the underlying illness has resolved, intensive care doctors have to make a decision on when the patient is safe to get off the ventilator or be extubated. They use clinical assessment of the patient’s ability to breathe spontaneously and make use of some breathing parameters to make the judgment. Most of the time, a patient can come off the ventilator and do well, but sometimes muscle weakness from sickness can affect the patient’s ability to breathe adequately once ventilator support is discontinued. If that occurs, the patient may have to be put back on the ventilator and the physician will suggest some changes to help muscles get stronger.
The study will test the use of Ultrasonography (Ultrasound) as a non-invasive test to assess the muscles of respiration (breathing). This test will also help us to test physical therapies and interventions of mechanical ventilation that can help patients strengthen the muscles while waiting for extubation (removal of the breathing tube).