Purpose: Single studies of Noninvasive Ventilation (NIV) in the management of acute respiratory failure in chest trauma patients have produced controversial findings. The aim of this study is to critically review the literature to investigate whether NIV reduces mortality, intubation rate, length of stay and complications in patients with chest trauma, compared to standard therapy.
Methods: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, prospective and retrospective observational studies, by searching PubMed, EMBASE and bibliographies of articles retrieved. We screened for relevance studies that enrolled adults with chest trauma who developed mild to severe acute respiratory failure and were treated with NIV. We included studies reporting at least one clinical outcome of interest to perform a meta-analysis.
Results: Ten studies (368 patients) met the inclusion criteria and were included for the meta-analysis. Five studies (219 patients) reported mortality and results were quite homogeneous across studies, with a summary relative risk for patients treated with NIV compared with standard care (oxygen therapy and invasive mechanical ventilation) of 0.26 (95 % confidence interval 0.09-0.71, p = 0.003). There was no advantage in mortality of continuous positive airway pressure over noninvasive pressure support ventilation. NIV significantly increased arterial oxygenation and was associated with a significant reduction in intubation rate, in the incidence of overall complications and infections.
Conclusions: These results suggest that NIV could be useful in the management of acute respiratory failure due to chest trauma.