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