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AIM: This paper is a report of the protocol for a review to identify, critically appraise and synthesize the best current evidence supporting the use of weaning protocols compared to non-protocolized practice in liberating patients from mechanical ventilation. BACKGROUND: Patients experiencing difficulty in weaning require a longer hospital stay and have higher morbidity and mortality. Consequently, efforts to reduce weaning time are desirable to reduce the duration of ventilation and related complications. Standardized weaning protocols are safe and effective in reducing the time spent on mechanical ventilation.Notwithstanding, the evidence supporting their use in practice is inconsistent. The discordant results of studies may reflect the fact that protocols vary in composition and are implemented in different environments by various healthcare providers. DESIGN: The objectives of this review are to compare the total duration of mechanical ventilation between patients weaned using protocols vs. non-protocolized practice; to ascertain differences between protocolized and non-protocolized weaning with regards to mortality, adverse events, quality of life, weaning duration, ICU and hospital stay; and to explore variation in outcomes by the type of ICU, the type of protocol and approach to delivering the protocol. We will search the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library), MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, ISI Web of Science and LILACS. In addition, we will endeavour to identify unpublished data and contact first authors of studies included in the review to obtain information on unpublished studies or work in progress. CONCLUSION: This review will provide much needed direction for healthcare professionals in intensive care in terms of both research and practice.

Original publication




Journal article


J Adv Nurs

Publication Date





957 - 964


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Clinical Protocols, Critical Care, Critical Illness, Humans, Intensive Care Units, Middle Aged, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome, Ventilator Weaning, Young Adult