Predicting ventilation failure in children with inhalation injury

John C. Fitzpatrick, William G. Cioffi, Henry W. Cheu, Basil A. Pruitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Despite advances in mechanical ventilatory support for patients with smoke inhalation injury, including the use of high-frequency flow-interruption ventilators such as the VDR, inhalation injury alone may increase mortality by as much as 20% in patients with thermal injury, and up to 60% when pneumonia occurs. Inhalation injury causes a primary large and small airway epithelial insult that results in ventilation abnormalities, rather than a primary alveolar lesion that results in oxygenation abnormalities as occur in multiple-system organ failure. Patients with inhalation injury requiring high ventilatory pressures experience complications of barotrauma and frequently succumb to necrotizing tracheobronchitis and oxygenation abnormalities after 2 to 4 weeks of mechanical ventilation. Ventilatory indexes obtained early in the postburn period allow the development of accurate predictive formulae that identify patients who will not be adequately supported by mechanical ventilation after smoke inhalation injury. Early identification of such patients will allow rapid conversion to other methods of ventilatory support that effect gas exchange, with minimal risk of further barotrauma, while inhalation injury healing occurs. Such predictors may be developed for other disease processes that are characterized by severe pulmonary ventilatory dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1122-1126
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Ventilation failure predictor
  • children
  • inhalation injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Surgery


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