Survey of non-invasive ventilation practices: a snapshot of Italian practice

Minerva Anestesiol. 2011 Oct;77(10):971-8.


Background: In Italy, NIV began to be employed in the late 1980s. Because it was adopted earlier than in Italy than in other countries, the pattern and rate of utilization of NIV may be different. We aim to determine factors that may influence Italian physicians' preferences towards NIV use, with a particular emphasis on the primary specialty of these physicians and the type of hospital in which they work.

Methods: We re-examined the data from our European survey conducted in 2008 and focused our analysis on the Italian subsets of respondents to explore factors that influence physicians' perceptions of their NIV practices in four scenarios: acute hypercapnic respiratory failure (AHRF), cardiogenic pulmonary edema (CPE), de novo respiratory failure, and weaning/post-extubation failure (W/PE).

Results: On average, NIV was equally applied in university and community hospitals (P>0.05) and its utilization rate was higher for pulmonologists (62% reported >20% of patients treated with NIV a year) vs. intensivists (17%) and others (21%) (P<0.05). A greater use of NIV was related to a smaller number of unit beds in de novo respiratory failure (56% vs. 40%) and a larger amount of unit beds in AHRF (16% vs. 7%) (P<0.05). Dedicated NIV platforms and ICU ventilators with NIV modules were the preferred machines in AHRF (P<0.05), while a greater utilization of ICU ventilators with NIV modules was observed in de novo respiratory failure. In all the scenarios, a facial mask was predominantly used (P<0.05), with the helmet rated as the second preferred choice in CPE.

Conclusion: Overall, Italian physicians perceived that NIV represents an essential tool when dealing with acute episodes of respiratory failure, irrespective of the type of hospital in which they worked.

MeSH terms

  • Europe
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Home Care Services
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Italy
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Respiration, Artificial / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ventilators, Mechanical