Physiological effects and optimisation of nasal assist-control ventilation for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in respiratory failure

C Girault, V Chevron, J C Richard, I Daudenthun, P Pasquis, J Leroy, G Bonmarchand
Thorax 1997, 52 (8): 690-6

BACKGROUND: A study was undertaken to investigate the effects of non-invasive assist-control ventilation (ACV) by nasal mask on respiratory physiological parameters and comfort in acute on chronic respiratory failure (ACRF).

METHODS: Fifteen patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were prospectively and randomly assigned to two non-invasive ventilation (NIV) sequences in spontaneous breathing (SB) and ACV mode. ACV settings were always optimised and therefore subsequently adjusted according to patient's tolerance and air leaks.

RESULTS: ACV significantly decreased all the total inspiratory work of breathing (WOBinsp) parameters, pressure time product, and oesophageal pressure variation in comparison with SB mode. The ACV mode also resulted in a significant reduction in surface diaphragmatic electromyographic activity to 36% of the control values and significantly improved the breathing pattern. SB did not change the arterial blood gas tensions from baseline values whereas ACV significantly improved both the PaO2 from a mean (SD) of 8.45 (2.95) kPa to 13.31 (2.15) kPa, PaCO2 from 9.52 (1.61) kPa to 7.39 (1.39) kPa, and the pH from 7.32 (0.03) to 7.40 (0.07). The respiratory comfort was significantly lower with ACV than with SB.

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that the clinical benefit of non-invasive ACV in the management of ACRF in patients with COPD results in a reduced inspiratory muscle activity providing an improvement in breathing pattern and gas exchange. Despite respiratory discomfort, the muscle rest provided appears sufficient when ACV settings are optimised.

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