Purpose: Few studies have examined locations of noninvasive ventilation (NIV) application for acute respiratory failure (ARF). We aimed to track actual locations of NIV delivery and related outcomes.
Methods: Observational cohort study based at 8 acute care hospitals in Massachusetts on adult patients admitted for ARF requiring ventilatory support during pre-determined time intervals.
Results: Of 1225 ventilator starts, 499 were NIV; 209 (42%) in intensive care units (ICU), 185 (37%) in emergency departments (ED), 91 (18%) on general wards, and 14 (3%) in other units. Utilization (% of all ventilator starts) (1), success (2) and in-hospital mortality (3) rates for patients initiated on NIV in ICU, ED, and general and other wards were (1) 38, 36, 73, and 52%, (2) 60, 77, 68, and 93% and (3) 25, 12, 17, and 0%, respectively (p < 0.05 for all). Patients with acute-on-chronic lung disease (ACLD) and acute pulmonary edema (APE) were begun on NIV most often in EDs and patients with 'de novo' ARF and neurologic disorders most often in ICU's. Approximately 2/3 of patients begun on NIV outside of ICUs were transferred within 72 h to ICUs, wards or other units.
Conclusions: Most NIV starts occurred in ICUs and EDs but utilization rate was highest (>50%) on general wards where a fifth of NIV starts took place. Actual location depended on etiology of ARF as patients with ACLD and APE were started more often in EDs and "de novo" ARF in ICU. NIV failure and mortality rates were higher in ICUs related to the greater proportion of patients with "de novo" ARF.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00458926.
Keywords: Acute respiratory failure; Emergency care; General wards; Intensive care units; Noninvasive ventilation.