PURPOSE:Respiratory complications are the most significant cause of morbidity and mortality in acute cervical spinal cord injury (CSCI). The prevalence of extubation failure (EF) and factors associated with it are unclear. This research aimed to systematically synthesise and pool literature describing EF and associated risk factors in acute CSCI. METHODS:A systematic review was performed using medical literature analysis and retrieval system online, cummulative index of nursing and allied health literature, excerpta medica dataBASE, and Cochrane library. Articles were screened using the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A proportion meta-analysis was conducted to pool rates of EF. Odds ratios and weighted mean differences were calculated to evaluate risk factors. The R statistical software package was used. RESULTS:Of the 347 articles that were identified, six articles satisfied the inclusion criteria (387 participants). The pooled EF rate was 20.25% (10.13-36.38%). Type of CSCI was the only statistically significant risk factor. The odds of EF occurring were 2.76 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.14; 6.70] times greater for complete CSCI than for incomplete CSCI. CONCLUSIONS:One in five patients with acute cervical SCI fails extubation. The odds of EF occurring are almost three times greater in complete CSCI. Future research should aim to improve standard data sets and prospective evaluation of adjuvant therapy in the peri-extubation period.