Noninvasive ventilation for acute respiratory distress in children with central nervous system disorders

Respir Med. 2013 Sep;107(9):1370-5. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2013.07.005. Epub 2013 Jul 30.


Background: Acute respiratory distress (ARD) is a relatively frequent occurrence in patients suffering from central nervous system disorders (CNSD) and moderate to severe mental retardation. Whenever conventional therapy is little effective, noninvasive mechanical ventilation (NIV) is the additional treatment in patients with diseases of the peripheral nervous system. However, NIV is traditionally little employed in the acute phase in patients suffering from CNSD. In the latter, either conventional therapy is maintained or invasive mechanical ventilation is instituted if the patient's condition worsens severely. To challenge the traditional view, we conducted the study to prove that NIV is both applicable and effective in the treatment of ARD also in children with moderate to severe mental retardation.

Methods: We studied 44 children with ARD secondary to pneumonia and CNSD causing moderate to severe mental retardation. The children were divided in two groups. One group received conventional therapy and NIV, the other conventional therapy only, before being advanced to invasive ventilator support when nonresponding. On admission to hospital and one hour following admission we registered pH, PaCO(2), PaO2, A - a DO2 and the PaO2/FiO2 ratio. The mean hospital stay was also recorded.

Results: After one hour on NIV PaO2 and pH increased, PaCO(2) decreased, A - a DO2 and PaO2/FiO2 ratio improved. No changes in the above parameters were observed in children on conventional therapy only. Hospital stay was shorter when NIV was instituted.

Conclusions: NIV is both applicable and beneficial in stabilizing blood gases, respiratory and cardiovascular parameters also in children with CNSD. Moreover its use shortens the hospital stay.

Keywords: Acute respiratory distress; Central nervous system disorders; Children; Neurological and neuromuscular diseases; Noninvasive ventilation.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / complications*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Noninvasive Ventilation / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome