Introduction: The role of non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV) in the treatment of acute lung injury (ALI) is controversial. We sought to assess the outcome of ALI that was initially treated with NIPPV and to identify specific risk factors for NIPPV failure.
Methods: In this observational cohort study at the two intensive care units of a tertiary center, we identified consecutive patients with ALI who were initially treated with NIPPV. Data on demographics, APACHE III scores, degree of hypoxemia, ALI risk factors and NIPPV respiratory parameters were recorded. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were performed to identify risk factors for NIPPV failure.
Results: Of 79 consecutive patients who met the inclusion criteria, 23 were excluded because of a do not resuscitate order and two did not give research authorization. Of the remaining 54 patients, 38 (70.3%) failed NIPPV, among them all 19 patients with shock. In a stepwise logistic regression restricted to patients without shock, metabolic acidosis (odds ratio 1.27, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03 to 0.07 per unit of base deficit) and severe hypoxemia (odds ratio 1.03, 95%CI 1.01 to 1.05 per unit decrease in ratio of arterial partial pressure of O2 and inspired O2 concentration--PaO2/FiO2) predicted NIPPV failure. In patients who failed NIPPV, the observed mortality was higher than APACHE predicted mortality (68% versus 39%, p < 0.01).
Conclusion: NIPPV should be tried very cautiously or not at all in patients with ALI who have shock, metabolic acidosis or profound hypoxemia.