JOURNAL ARTICLE

Long-term survival in elderly patients with a do-not-intubate order treated with noninvasive mechanical ventilation

Paolo Scarpazza, Cristoforo Incorvaia, Paolo Amboni, Giuseppe di Franco, Stefania Raschi, Pierfranco Usai, Monica Bernareggi, Cristiano Bonacina, Chiara Melacini, Roberta Cattaneo, Serena Bencini, Chiara Pravettoni, Gian Galeazzo Riario-Sforza, Gianni Passalacqua, Walter Casali
International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 2011, 6: 253-7
21814461

BACKGROUND: Noninvasive mechanical ventilation (NIMV) is an effective tool in treating patients with acute respiratory failure (ARF), since it reduces both the need for endotracheal intubation and the mortality in comparison with nonventilated patients. A particular issue is represented by the outcome of NIMV in patients referred to the emergency department for ARF and with a do-not-intubate (DNI) status because of advanced age or excessively critical conditions. This study evaluated long-term survival in a group of elderly patients with acute hypercapnic ARF who had a DNI order and who were successfully treated by NIMV.

METHODS: The population consisted of 54 patients with a favorable outcome after NIMV for ARF. They were followed up for 3 years by regular control visits, with at least one visit every 4 months, or as needed according to the patient's condition. Of these, 31 continued NIMV at home and 23 were on long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) alone.

RESULTS: A total of 16 of the 52 patients had not survived at the 1-year follow-up, and another eight patients died during the 3-year observation, with an overall mortality rate of 30.8% after 1 year and 46.2% after 3 years. Comparing patients who continued NIMV at home with those who were on LTOT alone, 9 of the 29 patients on home NIMV died (6 after 1 year and 3 after 3 years) and 15 of the 23 patients on LTOT alone died (10 after 1 year and 5 after 3 years).

CONCLUSION: These results show that elderly patients with ARF successfully treated by NIMV following a DNI order have a satisfactory long-term survival.

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