Risk factors and outcomes associated with unplanned intraoperative extubation of the pediatric surgical patient: An analysis of the NSQIP-P database

Eric C. Cheon*, James M. Cheon, Yeona Chun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Unplanned intraoperative extubation is a rare but potentially catastrophic safety event. Inadvertent extubation in the neonatal and pediatric critical care setting is a recognized quality improvement metric whereas literature for intraoperative extubation is scarce. The aim of this study was to identify risk factors and outcomes associated with unplanned intraoperative extubation. Methods: We queried the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program—Pediatric database from 2019 to 2020 for patients <18 years of age. A total of 253 673 patients were included in the analysis. Associations between demographics, clinical variables, and unplanned intraoperative extubation were evaluated with univariable and multivariable logistic regression models. The primary outcome was unplanned intraoperative extubation. Secondary outcomes were postoperative pulmonary complication, unplanned reintubation within 24 h, cardiac arrest on day of surgery, and surgical site infection. Results: Unplanned intraoperative extubation occurred in 163 (0.06%) patients. Specific procedures experienced unplanned intraoperative extubation at a higher rate such as bilateral cleft lip repair (1.31% of procedure type) and thoracic repair of tracheoesophageal fistula (1.11% of procedure type). Age, operative time (z-score), American Society of Anesthesiologists Classification 3 and 4, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, thoracic surgery, otolaryngology, and structural pulmonary/airway abnormalities were independent risk factors. Unplanned intraoperative extubation was associated with an increased unadjusted risk for postoperative pulmonary complication (p <.005; OR, 6.05; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.93–14.44), unplanned reintubation within 24 h (p <.005; OR, 8.41; 95% CI: 2.08–34.03), cardiac arrest on day of surgery (p <.05; OR, 22.67; 95% CI: 0.56–132.35), and surgical site infection (p <.0005; OR, 3.27; 95% CI 1.74–5.67). Conclusions: Unplanned intraoperative extubation occurs at a higher frequency in a subset of procedures and patient types. Identifying and targeting at-risk patients with preventative measures may decrease the incidence of unplanned intraoperative extubation and its associated outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)746-753
Number of pages8
JournalPaediatric anaesthesia
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • airway extubation
  • child
  • general anesthesia
  • infant
  • intraoperative period
  • patient safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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