Background: Few data are available on the long-term outcome of noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) for obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS). This study was designed to determine long-term survival, treatment adherence, and prognostic factors in patients with OHS in whom NPPV was initiated in an acute setting vs under stable clinical conditions.
Methods: One hundred thirty consecutive patients with OHS (56 women) who started NPPV between January 1995 and December 2006 either under stable conditions (stable group, n = 92) or during ICU management of acute hypercapnic exacerbation (acute group, n = 38) were retrospectively analyzed.
Results: Arterial blood gases and the Epworth sleepiness scale were both significantly improved after 6 months of NPPV. With a mean follow-up of 4.1 +/- 2.9 years, 24 (18.5%) patients died and 24 (18.5%) discontinued NPPV. On Kaplan-Meier analysis, 1-, 2-, 3-, and 5-year survival probabilities were 97.5%, 93%, 88.3%, and 77.3%, respectively. Mortality was lower than that described in a previous series of patients with untreated OHS. Supplemental oxygen therapy was the only independent predictor of mortality. The probability of continuing NPPV was 80% at 3 years with a high rate of daily use ( > 7 h). Female sex was predictive of lower long-term adherence to NPPV. The acute and stable groups did not differ in terms of arterial blood gases and Epworth sleepiness scale at 6 months, long-term survival, and treatment adherence.
Conclusions: The results of this study support long-term NPPV as an effective and well-tolerated treatment of OHS whether initiated in the acute or chronic setting.