Long-term non-invasive ventilation reduces readmissions in COPD patients with two or more episodes of acute hypercapnic respiratory failure

Kasper Linde Ankjærgaard, Sophia Liff Maibom, Jon Torgny Wilcke
European Clinical Respiratory Journal 2016, 3: 28303

BACKGROUND: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients who have had an episode of acute hypercapnic respiratory failure (AHRF) have a large 1-year risk of death or readmission. Acute non-invasive ventilation (NIV) has been shown to be an effective treatment of AHRF; and long-term NIV (LTNIV) has been shown to be an effective treatment of chronic respiratory failure in stable hypercapnic COPD. We investigated the effects of LTNIV in a group of patients with severe, unstable COPD: frequent admissions and multiple previous episodes of AHRF treated with NIV.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of 20 COPD patients treated with LTNIV after two or more episodes of AHRF during 1 year.

RESULTS: The mean number of AHRF episodes decreased from 2.44 in the year prior to LTNIV initiation to 0.44 in the year following (p<0.0001). The median number of admissions decreased from 5.19 to 1.88 (p=0.0092). Four patients (20%) died in 1 year. LTNIV tended to reduce arterial CO2. No changes were found in lung function.

CONCLUSIONS: LTNIV seems effective in reducing recurrent AHRF and readmissions in a highly select group of patients with severe, unstable COPD and frequent AHRF.

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