Characterizing post-extubation negative pressure pulmonary edema in the operating room-a retrospective matched case-control study

Pei-Hsin Tsai, Jen-Hung Wang, Shian-Che Huang, Yen-Kuang Lin, Chen-Fuh Lam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Post-extubation negative pressure pulmonary edema (NPPE) is an uncommon but important anesthesia-related emergency presenting with acute respiratory distress and hypoxemia after removal of airway devices. This study investigated the incidence and associated risk factors for post-extubation NPPE during emergence.

Methods: This retrospective, matched case-control study was conducted by reviewing the post-anesthesia records in Tzu Chi General Hospital, Taiwan. Patients reported of having acute hypoxemia (SpO2 < 92%) shortly after the removal of the endotracheal tube or supraglottic airway, associating with radiographic evidence of pulmonary edema and/or pink frothy sputum, were identified as definite NPPE cases. The potential risk factors were compared with the matched controls, who were randomly selected from the same database.

Results: A total of 85,561 patients received general anesthesia with airway instrumentation during the 8.5-year study period. A total of 16 patients were identified as definite cases of NPPE. Compared with the matched controls (n = 131), males, active smokers, emergency operation, endotracheal intubation, use of desflurane, and prolonged operation time carried significantly higher risks of developing NPPE (P < 0.05). Multivariate logistic regression analysis illustrated that active smoking (AOR 7.66, 95% CI 1.67-35.3; P = 0.009) and endotracheal intubation (AOR 10.87, 95% CI 1.23-100; P = 0.03) were the two most significant independent variables of post-extubation NPPE.

Conclusion: We present the first clinical comparative study demonstrating that the overall incidence of NPPE immediately after extubation in the operating room is 0.019%. Our results highlight that active smokers and patients receiving endotracheal intubation general anesthesia are associated with significantly higher risks of developing NPPE following extubation in the operating room.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28
JournalPerioperative medicine (London, England)
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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