Background: Nocturnal ventilatory support by nasal positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) is an established treatment method in patients with chronic alveolar hypoventilation (CAH). The knowledge about its long-term effects on health-related quality of life (HRQL) is limited.
Methods: In a prospective, longitudinal, single-strand study, patients with CAH caused by non-COPD conditions, consecutively recruited among referral patients in three Swedish university hospital pulmonary departments, were examined at baseline and after 9 months (n = 35) and 8 years (n = 11) on NPPV treatment. Both volume pre-set and pressure pre-set ventilators were used. Patients completed a battery of condition-specific and generic HRQL questionnaires at baseline and follow-up. Spirometry and blood gases were measured. Compliance with treatment, side effects and patient satisfaction were evaluated.
Results: After 9 months of NPPV, improvements were seen primarily not only in sleep-related domains, but also in emotional behaviour, ambulation and sleep/rest functioning as measured with the Sickness Impact Profile (SIP). Improvements in sleep-related symptoms were related to effectiveness in ventilation, evaluated by morning PaCO(2), and remained by 8 years. Mental well-being was stable over time, while emotional distress improved by 8 years. Satisfaction with treatment was high in spite of frequent side effects.
Conclusion: NPPV improves HRQL, particularly in condition-specific areas. Improvements are related to effectiveness in ventilation. Side effects are common, but compliance is good and patient satisfaction is high.