Purpose: To determine if, compared to pressure support (PS), neurally adjusted ventilatory assist (NAVA) reduces patient-ventilator asynchrony in intensive care patients undergoing noninvasive ventilation with an oronasal face mask.
Methods: In this prospective interventional study we compared patient-ventilator synchrony between PS (with ventilator settings determined by the clinician) and NAVA (with the level set so as to obtain the same maximal airway pressure as in PS). Two 20-min recordings of airway pressure, flow and electrical activity of the diaphragm during PS and NAVA were acquired in a randomized order. Trigger delay (T(d)), the patient's neural inspiratory time (T(in)), ventilator pressurization duration (T(iv)), inspiratory time in excess (T(iex)), number of asynchrony events per minute and asynchrony index (AI) were determined.
Results: The study included 13 patients, six with COPD, and two with mixed pulmonary disease. T(d) was reduced with NAVA: median 35 ms (IQR 31-53 ms) versus 181 ms (122-208 ms); p = 0.0002. NAVA reduced both premature and delayed cyclings in the majority of patients, but not the median T(iex) value. The total number of asynchrony events tended to be reduced with NAVA: 1.0 events/min (0.5-3.1 events/min) versus 4.4 events/min (0.9-12.1 events/min); p = 0.08. AI was lower with NAVA: 4.9 % (2.5-10.5 %) versus 15.8 % (5.5-49.6 %); p = 0.03. During NAVA, there were no ineffective efforts, or late or premature cyclings. PaO(2) and PaCO(2) were not different between ventilatory modes.
Conclusion: Compared to PS, NAVA improved patient ventilator synchrony during noninvasive ventilation by reducing T(d) and AI. Moreover, with NAVA, ineffective efforts, and late and premature cyclings were absent.