Feasibility of high-flow nasal cannula oxygen therapy for acute respiratory failure in patients with hematologic malignancies: A retrospective single-center study

J Crit Care. 2015 Aug;30(4):773-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2015.03.014. Epub 2015 Mar 20.


Purpose: This study investigated the feasibility of high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) oxygen therapy for acute respiratory failure in adult patients with hematologic malignancies.

Materials and methods: We identified 45 acute respiratory failure patients with hematologic malignancies who received HFNC therapy between March 2012 and June 2014 at Seoul St Mary's Hospital. Their medical records were reviewed retrospectively to identify useful prognostic factors for successful treatment.

Results: Of the 45 patients, 15 (33.3%) successfully recovered, and 30 were changed to invasive ventilation due to failed HFNC treatment. The etiologies of acute respiratory failure were bacterial pneumonia (57.8%), Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (17.8%), pulmonary edema (8.9%), and bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia (8.9%). The overall mortality rate was 62.2%. The HFNC treatment success rate was significantly different between the survivors and nonsurvivors. To evaluate risk factors for HFNC treatment failure, differences between the HFNC treatment success and failure groups were compared. There were no significant differences in the severity of underlying medical conditions. The percentage of bacterial pneumonia was significantly higher in the HFNC treatment failure group compared with the success group (73.3% vs 26.7%; P = .004).

Conclusions: High-flow nasal cannula offers an interesting alternative to invasive ventilation in acute respiratory failure patients with hematologic malignancies. However, attention must be paid to the appropriate choice of HFNC settings such as oxygen flow.

Keywords: Acute respiratory failure; Hematologic malignancy; High-flow oxygen therapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Catheters
  • Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia / complications*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noninvasive Ventilation
  • Oxygen
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy / methods*
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / complications*
  • Pneumonia, Pneumocystis / complications*
  • Pulmonary Edema / complications*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Failure
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Oxygen