John R. Zaleski Dissertation (1996): Weaning from Postoperative Mechanical Ventilation

Dissertation Title: “Modeling Postoperative Respiratory State in Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Patients: A Method for Weaning Patients from Mechanical Ventilation”

“Physicians, nurses, and other health care workers are facing a problem: provide affordable, quality health care to patients while at the same time satisfy cost constraints imposed on them by insurance companies and government agencies. Cost-cutting measures in many industries, including health care, have resulted in down-sizing “solutions” which achieve their goal of reducing costs by eliminating personnel. This approach, however, can take a physical and psychological toll on those remaining care-providers involved in the daily activity of saving lives. Technology has made an attempt to come to the rescue of these individuals by enabling easy-access to data on patients within their care.”

“Much of this information, though, is in a a raw and unprocessed form, and is generally large in quantity. For the weary health-care provider, the effort involved in viewing and processing this information in real-time can be a deterrent to its use. Few places bombard the health-care provide with more real-time data than the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, or SICU. Patients arrive in the SICU from surgery, their lives dependent on the talents of the critical care staff and the proximity of life-sustaining technologies for survival. While it is important to maintain all of the patient’s physiological functions during the critical 24 hour period following surgery, two of the most vital are heart function and breathing. Whereas heart function is maintained through the careful administration of drugs to reduce the strain of pumping blood through the body, breathing is accomplished directly through the use of a mechanical ventilator which breathes for the patient until spontaneous respiratory function is regained.”

This Ph.D. dissertation documents the research and development of a real-time predictor of patient recovery and viability for weaning from postoperative mechanical ventilation.

Weaning from postoperative mechanical ventilation isa key process in surgical intensive care. According to the SCCM (Source: Society of Critical Care Medicine, 2006), ICU patients occupy only 10% of the inpatient beds, but account for almost 30% of the acute care hospital costs. A key aspect of care in ICUs relates to weaning from postoperative mechanical ventilation.