Free to Breathe

Free to Breathe

Vibra's Ventilator Weaning Program

Vibra Hospital’s ventilator weaning program is unique and unparalleled. Our neurodiagnostic approach includes electrodiagnostic computer studies to assess for phrenic nerve dysfunction and generalized nerve and muscle injury, which can often interfere with recovery and prolong ventilator dependence. It incorporates neurodiagnostic techniques, fluoroscopic imaging, spirometric studies, as well as interdisciplinary clinical evaluations. Clinical experts providing evaluations may include pulmonology, internal medicine, and physical medicine physicians as well as respiratory, physical and speech therapists to evaluate the mechanics of respiration and prognosticate the patient’s ability to breathe independent of the ventilator.

This unique, structured approach is not available in any other hospital system. We started the Free To Breathe Ventilator Weaning Program at a Vibra Hospital in 2011 and have been surprised at the amount of neurologic-based pathology, some previously undiagnosed, which contributed to the delay in weaning. Diagnoses responsible for respiratory failure have included Guillain Barré Syndrome, critical illness neuropathy, cervical myelopathy/spinal cord injury, phrenic nerve dysfunction and chronic aspiration.

By fully evaluating the pulmonary, neurologic and muscle mechanics of respiration, our dedicated clinical team can work on specific remediation strategies to give our patients the highest chance of successfully coming off and staying off the ventilator.

Who We Can Help

  • All partially and fully ventilator dependent individuals
  • Patients recently weaned from the ventilator and at high risk for respiratory fatigue/decline
  • Patients and families facing the decision of comfort care versas continuation of a curative treatment plan
  • Individuals diagnosed with a progressive neurologic disease affecting muscles of respiration (may be on/off a ventilator and with/without a tracheostomy tube)
  • Patients no longer requiring assistive ventilation but having difficulty weaning from a tracheostomy tube

Program Objectives

  • Perform a comprehensive evaluation of pulmonary function to facilitate successful ventilator weaning.
  • Predict ventilator weaning potential as it applies to length of stay, disposition and prognosis
  • Provide feedback to the patient, family and treatment team, including payors, regarding chances of successful weaning.
  • Identification of those patients with a strong potential for weaning successfully.

“In looking for individual causes of prolonged ventilator dependence, we are now able to find specific treatments for the problem.”

Alex Barchuk, MD

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation,

Director of the Neurodiagnostic Ventilator Weaning Program