Purpose: Oxygen delivery after extubation is critical to maintain adequate oxygenation and to avoid reintubation. The delivery of oxygen in such situations is usually by high-flow face mask (HFFM). Yet, this may be uncomfortable for some patients. A recent advance in oxygen delivery technology is high-flow nasal prongs (HFNP). There are no randomized trials comparing these 2 modes.
Methods: Patients were randomized to either protocol A (n = 25; HFFM followed by HFNP) or protocol B (n = 25; HFNP followed by HFFM) after a stabilization period of 30 minutes after extubation. The primary objective was to compare the efficacy of HFNP to HFFM in maintaining gas exchange as measured by arterial blood gas. Secondary objective was to compare the relative effects on heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, comfort, and tolerance.
Results: Patients in both protocols were comparable in terms of age, demographic, and physiologic variables including arterial blood gas, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, Glasgow Coma Score, sedation, and Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) III scores. There was no significant difference in gas exchange, respiratory rate, or hemodynamics. There was a significant difference (P = .01) in tolerance, with nasal prongs being well tolerated. There was a trend (P = .09) toward better patient comfort with HFNP.
Conclusions: High-flow nasal prongs are as effective as HFFM in delivering oxygen to extubated patients who require high-flow oxygen. The tolerance of HFNP was significantly better than in HFFM.
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