Noninvasive ventilation in hypercapnic acute respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease vs. other conditions: effectiveness and predictors of failure

Intensive Care Med. 2005 Apr;31(4):533-9. doi: 10.1007/s00134-005-2582-8. Epub 2005 Mar 2.


Objective: This study compared the effectiveness of noninvasive ventilation (NIV) and the risk factors for NIV failure in hypercapnic acute respiratory failure (ARF) due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) vs. non-COPD conditions.

Design and setting: Prospective cohort study in the medical intensive care unit of a university hospital.

Patients and participants: 111 patients with hypercapnic ARF, 43 of whom had COPD exacerbations and 68 other conditions. Baseline characteristics of the two groups were similar.

Measurements and results: The risk of NIV failure, defined as the need for endotracheal intubation, was significantly lower in COPD than in other conditions (19% vs. 47%). High APACHE II score was an independent predictor of NIV failure in COPD (OR 5.38 per 5 points). The presence of pneumonia (OR 5.63), high APACHE II score (OR 2.59 per 5 points), rapid heart rate (OR 1.22 per 5 beats/min), and high PaCO(2) 1 h after NIV (OR 1.22 per 5 mmHg) were independent predictors of NIV failure in the non-COPD group. Failure of NIV independently predicted mortality (OR 10.53).

Conclusions: Noninvasive ventilation was more effective in preventing endotracheal intubation in hypercapnic ARF due to COPD than non-COPD conditions. High APACHE II score predicted NIV failure in both groups. Noninvasive ventilation was least effective in patients with hypercapnic ARF due to pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercapnia / physiopathology*
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Singapore
  • Treatment Outcome