Introduction: Home mechanical ventilation (HMV) in the Netherlands is normally initiated in hospital, but this is expensive and often a burden for the patient. In this randomised controlled study we investigated whether initiation of HMV at home in patients with chronic respiratory failure is non-inferior to an in hospital based setting.
Methods: Seventy-seven patients were included, of which 38 patients started HMV at home. All patients were diagnosed with chronic respiratory failure due to a neuromuscular or thoracic cage disease. Primary outcome was the arterial carbon dioxide (PaCO2) while quality of life and costs were secondary outcomes. Telemonitoring was used in the home group to provide therapeutic information, for example; transcutaneous carbon dioxide, oxygen saturation and ventilator information, to the caregivers. Follow-up was six months.
Results: PaCO2, improved by 0.72 (SE ± 0.16) kPa in the hospital group and by 0.91 (±0.20) in the home group, both improvements being significant and the latter clearly not inferior. There were also significant improvements in quality of life in both groups, again not being inferior with home treatment.
Conclusion: This study is the first to show that initiation of HMV at home in a selective group of patients with chronic respiratory failure is as effective for gas exchange and quality of life as hospital initiation. In addition we found that it is safe, technically feasible and that more than € 3000 per patient can be saved compared to our standard care.
Keywords: Carbon dioxide; Chronic ventilatory support; Home mechanical ventilation; Non-invasive ventilation; Telemonitoring.
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