Objectives: To describe survival, predictors of long-term outcome and attitudes in patients treated at home by tracheostomy-intermittent positive-pressure ventilation (TIPPV) for respiratory failure during a 10-year period (1995-2004).
Methods: Seventy-seven consecutive patients were treated by TIPPV at home. Patients were divided into three groups: neuromuscular, pulmonary, and non-pulmonary patients. Effects of TIPPV on survival, factors influencing outcome after TIPPV, and attitudes of patients and caregivers regarding mechanical ventilation were studied.
Results: Forty-one patients (53%) were neuromuscular, 19 (25%) were affected by pulmonary diseases, and 17 (22%) by non-pulmonary diseases. The median survival time after TIPPV in the group was 49 months (range 3-149 months). There was statistically significant longer survival in neuromuscular compared to pulmonary patients (p=0.006), and a trend toward longer survival for non-pulmonary when compared to pulmonary patients (p=0.048). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients (n=14) showed the poorest outlook (median survival 26 months, range 3-45 months) and the highest number of emergency readmissions to hospital. The median survival in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients was 49 months (range 30-61), lower than the whole group of neuromuscular patients. Major tracheostomy complications were low: 2.6%. Multivariate analysis showed that COPD and ALS patients had a three-fold higher risk of death than patients with other diagnoses. Lastly, 64 patients (83%) were pleased they had chosen TIPPV and 69 (90%) would choose it again. Forty-two caregivers (55%) were pleased the patients had chosen home ventilation, but 29 (38%) reported major burdens.
Conclusions: TIPPV is well-received by the patients, is safe, and provides survival for long periods of time. Underlying conditions (COPD and ALS) might represent important prognostic factors for survival.