Effect of noninvasive mechanical ventilation in elderly patients with hypercapnic acute-on-chronic respiratory failure and a do-not-intubate order

Paolo Scarpazza, Cristoforo Incorvaia, Giuseppe di Franco, Stefania Raschi, Pierfranco Usai, Monica Bernareggi, Cristiano Bonacina, Chiara Melacini, Silvia Vanni, Serena Bencini, Chiara Pravettoni, Giuseppe Di Cara, Mona-Rita Yacoub, Gian Galeazzo Riario-Sforza, Enrico Guffanti, Walter Casali
International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 2008, 3 (4): 797-801
Noninvasive mechanical ventilation (NIMV) is effective in the treatment of patients with acute respiratory failure (ARF). It proved to reduce the need of endotracheal intubation (ETI), the incidence of ETI-associated pneumonia, and mortality compared to nonventilated patients. A particular aspect concerns the outcome of NIMV in patients referring to an emergency room (ER) for ARF, and with a do-not-intubate (DNI) status due to advanced age or critical conditions. The aim of our study is to assess the outcome of NIMV in a group of elderly patients with acute hypercapnic ARF who had a DNI status. An overall number of 62 subjects (30 males, 32 females, mean age 81 +/- 4.8 years, range 79-91 years) referred to our semi-intensive respiratory department were enrolled in the study. The underlying diseases were severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in 50/62 subjects, restrictive thoracic disorders in 7/62 subjects, and multiorgan failure in 5/62 subjects. Fifty-four/62 patients were successfully treated with NIMV while 2/62 did not respond to NIMV and were therefore submitted to ETI (one survived). Among NIMV-treated patients, death occurred in 6 patients after a mean of 9.9 days; the overall rate of NIMV failure was 12.9%. Negative prognostic factors for NIMV response proved to be: an older age, a low Glasgow Coma Score, a high APACHE score at admission, a high PaCO2 after 12 hours and a low pH both after 1 and 12 hours of NIMV. We conclude that elderly patients with acute hypercapnic ARF with a DNI status can be successfully treated by NIMV.

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