RATIONALEPostextubation distress after a successful spontaneous breathing trial (SBT) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Lung ultrasound determination of changes in lung aeration predicts weaning failure. It remains unknown whether this derecruitment is related to alveolar epithelial dysfunction or not.OBJECTIVETo verify whether lung alveolar type I epithelial cell injury marker sRAGE (soluble form of the receptor for advanced glycation end-products) is predictive of postextubation distress and weaning failure or not, and to verify whether plasma sRAGE levels can be related to lung derecruitment during the process of weaning from mechanical ventilation or not. INTERVENTIONS MEASUREMENTS: 88 patients from 2 intensive care units were included in this observational prospective study. Plasma sRAGE levels were measured in duplicate by ELISA before, at the end of a 60-minute SBT, and 4 hours after extubation. To quantify lung aeration, a lung ultrasound score was calculated.MAIN RESULTS34% of extubated patients experienced postextubation distress. Patients with or without postextubation distress had comparable sRAGE levels before SBT, after SBT, and 4 hours after extubation. In patients with postextubation distress, sRAGE levels were not predictive of the need for mechanical ventilation. sRAGE levels were not associated with lung aeration as assessed by echography. Patients who succeeded SBT (86%) and those who failed (14%) had no differences in sRAGE levels, before (median 1111 vs 1021 pg/mL, p = 0,87) and at the end of SBT (1165 vs 1038 pg/mL, p = 0.74).CONCLUSIONSPlasma levels of sRAGE do not predict postextubation distress or SBT failure/success in patients weaning from mechanical ventilation. Lung aeration loss during a successful weaning trial predicts postextubation distress, but may not be evaluable by plasma levels of sRAGE, a marker of alveolar type I epithelial cell injury.TRIAL REGISTRATIONClinicalTrials.gov NCT01098773.