Introduction: Home mechanical ventilation (HMV) is increasingly used in the treatment of chronic respiratory failure thanks to rapid technological development, increasing number of elderly people and extension of indications. The aim of the study was to assess: prevalence of HMV in Poland, the proportions of lung disease and neuromuscular patients using HMV and the type of interface (invasive v. non-invasive).
Material and methods: The questionnaire was send to all institutions providing HMV in Poland and to regional departments of National Health System (NHS).
Results: All NHS departments responded. They reported 846 HMV users, 31% of children. The prevalence of HMV in Poland was assessed as 2,2 patient per 100.000 population without striking differences between provinces. Among 39 HMV centers in Poland 12 (31%) answered. They reported 206 patients (24% of all HMV users). Proportion of ventilation mode consisted of 59% (122 pts) treated via a tracheostomy and 41% (84 pts) with non invasive ventilation (NIV). 168 patients (82%) had neuromuscular diseases (ND), majority of them muscular dystrophy - 57 patients ( 34% of ND) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - 39 patients (23% of ND). There were only 38 patients (18%) with lung and thoracic cage diseases: 17 with COPD and 10 with kyphoscoliosis.
Conclusions: The prevalence of HMV treatment in Poland has developed dramatically in the last decade, but is still very low comparing to other European countries, especially due to very low number of patients with lung and chest wall diseases. The prevalence of invasive mode of ventilation is extremely high. The most important factors which inhibit development of HMV in Poland are: omission of respiratory physicians in the process of qualification, lack of national guidelines, sophisticated demands for HMV providers. The awareness of the need of HMV especially in patients with respiratory failure due to obesity hypoventilation syndrome and restrictive lung diseases should be increased among chest physicians.