Non-invasive home mechanical ventilation: effectiveness and efficiency of an outpatient initiation protocol compared with the standard in-hospital model

Respir Med. 2007 Jun;101(6):1177-82. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2006.11.006. Epub 2006 Dec 22.


Objective: To compare the effectiveness and efficiency of an initiation protocol for non-invasive home mechanical ventilation (NIHMV) carried out at a pulmonary outpatient clinic with the standard in-hospital model.

Methods: Prospective, observational study.

Population: 16 patients divided into two groups: (A) outpatient protocol (n=9); and (B) standard in-hospital initiation with an elective admission (n=7).

Instrumentation: at baseline condition and treatment starting, arterial blood gases and nocturnal pulse-oximetry were performed. At the end of follow-up, arterial blood gases and patient compliance (ventilator's built-in counter) was determined. Efficiency was evaluated by calculating cost savings per ventilated patient for the financier and accumulated days of hospitalization saved.

Results: No differences in baseline conditions were observed. Ventilation was effective in the two groups: a significant decrease in PaCO(2) and an increase in mean nocturnal oxygen saturation were observed after initiating ventilation. (Group A: PaCO(2):42.9+/-1.5; SpO(2):91.9+/-1.9; Group B:PaCO(2):44.3+/-6; SpO(2):91.9+/-2.7). At three months the effectiveness of ventilation and the number of hours of ventilation was equivalent in all groups. The new model cut costs for the health care financier by 50%. The outpatient sessions saved 63 days of hospitalization.

Conclusions: (1) Outpatient initiation is an effective and efficient alternative to the traditional in-hospital method for NIHMV. (2) The outpatient protocol represents a substantial saving for the financier.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Home Care Services, Hospital-Based / organization & administration*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Organizational
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Partial Pressure
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration, Artificial* / economics
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / blood
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Spain


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen