Is it possible to predict the success of non-invasive positive pressure ventilation in acute respiratory failure due to COPD?

S Putinati, L Ballerin, M Piattella, G L Panella, A Potena
Respiratory Medicine 2000, 94 (10): 997-1001
There is now sufficient evidence that non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV) in selected patients with severe hypercapnic acute respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is more effective than pharmacological therapy alone. The aim of this study was to identify prognostic factors to predict the success of this technique. Fifty-nine consecutive patients with COPD admitted to a respiratory ward for 75 episodes of acute respiratory failure treated with NIPPV were analysed: success (77%) or failure (23%) were evaluated by survival and the need for endotracheal intubation. There were no significant differences in age, sex, cause of relapse and lung function tests between the two groups. Patients in whom NIPPV was unsuccessful were significantly underweight, had an higher Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) II score, and a lower serum level of albumin in comparison with those in whom NIPPV was successful. They demonstrated significantly greater abnormalities in pH and PaCO2 at baseline and after 2h of NIPPV. The logistic regression analysis demonstrated that, when all the variables were tested together, a high APACHE II score and a low albumin level continued to have a significant predictive effect. This analysis could predict the outcome in 82% of patients. In conclusion, our study suggests that low albumin serum levels and a high APACHE II score may be important indices in predicting the success of NIPPV.

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