Autonomic markers of extubation readiness in premature infants

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Pediatric research




BACKGROUND: In premature infants, extubation failure is common and difficult to predict. Heart rate variability (HRV) is a marker of autonomic tone. Our aim is to test the hypothesis that autonomic impairment is associated with extubation readiness. METHODS: Retrospective study of 89 infants <28 weeks. HRV metrics 24 h prior to extubation were compared for those with and without extubation success within 72 h. Receiver-operating curve analysis was conducted to determine the predictive ability of each metric, and a predictive model was created. RESULTS: Seventy-three percent were successfully extubated. The success group had significantly lower oxygen requirement, higher sympathetic HRV metrics, and a lower parasympathetic HRV metric. α (measure of autocorrelation, related to sympathetic tone) was the best predictor of success-area under the curve (AUC) of .73 (p = 0.001), and incorporated into a predictive model had an AUC of 0.81 (p < 0.0001)-sensitivity of 81% and specificity of 78%. CONCLUSIONS: Extubation success is associated with HRV. We show an autonomic imbalance with low sympathetic and elevated parasympathetic tone in those who failed. α, a marker of sympathetic tone, was noted to be the best predictor of extubation success especially when incorporated into a clinical model. IMPACT: This article depicts autonomic markers predictive of extubation success. We depict an autonomic imbalance in those who fail extubation with heightened parasympathetic and blunted sympathetic signal. We describe a predictive model for extubation success with a sensitivity of 81% and specificity of 78%.