Objective: To obtain representative data on the frequency of use and availability of resources for noninvasive mechanical ventilation (NIV) in hospitals (acute respiratory failure) and at home (chronic respiratory failure).
Method: We sent a purpose-designed questionnaire to all the hospitals in the Autonomous Community of Valencia, Spain and followed up with a telephone interview.
Results: Seventy percent of the hospitals responded to the survey. NIV was used to treat patients with acute respiratory episodes in 100% of the intensive care units and in 88% of the respiratory medicine departments. The most common diseases were chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (mean [SD] 60% [20%]), obesity hypoventilation syndrome (22% [12%]), neuromuscular diseases (6.5% [8%]), and kyphoscoliosis (6.5% [7%]). Other diseases accounted for 4% [11%] of cases. Emergency departments used NIV in 69% of patients, internal medicine departments in 37%, hospital-based home care units in 19%, and other departments in 12%. None of the hospitals that responded to the survey had an intermediate care unit and considerable differences were found in terms of NIV systems used. Home NIV was provided by 88% of hospitals. Patients using home NIV had COPD (31% [18%]), obesity hypoventilation syndrome (30% [18%]), neuromuscular diseases (16% [23%]), kyphoscoliosis (12% [10%]), and other diseases (11% [17%]). Patient numbers varied greatly from one hospital to the next. Home NIV was delivered using a nasal interface in 65% (32%) of cases, an oral-nasal interface in 33% (33%), a tracheostomy tube in 2% (3%), and a mouthpiece in 1% (32%). Only 31.3% of hospitals has a specialized home NIV unit. Home monitoring was performed mainly by service providers. We calculated that home NIV was used in 29 individuals per 100 000 population. Only 50% of the respiratory medicine departments surveyed had written hospitalization protocols; the corresponding percentages for other departments were 44% for home care units, 19% for emergency departments, and 12% for internal medicine departments.
Conclusions: We observed differences in the type of requirement used, and considerable deficiencies in the availability of human and material resources and support systems. Although NIV is mostly used in hospitals to treat patients with acute respiratory failure, home NIV is also very common and is characterized by greater variability in terms of the number and type of patients. We also observed deficiencies in terms of written protocols for patients with acute and chronic disease.