Importance: Noninvasive ventilation has been recommended to decrease mortality among immunocompromised patients with hypoxemic acute respiratory failure. However, its effectiveness for this indication remains unclear.
Objective: To determine whether early noninvasive ventilation improved survival in immunocompromised patients with nonhypercapnic acute hypoxemic respiratory failure.
Design, setting, and participants: Multicenter randomized trial conducted among 374 critically ill immunocompromised patients, of whom 317 (84.7%) were receiving treatment for hematologic malignancies or solid tumors, at 28 intensive care units (ICUs) in France and Belgium between August 12, 2013, and January 2, 2015.
Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to early noninvasive ventilation (n = 191) or oxygen therapy alone (n = 183).
Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was day-28 mortality. Secondary outcomes were intubation, Sequential Organ Failure Assessment score on day 3, ICU-acquired infections, duration of mechanical ventilation, and ICU length of stay.
Results: At randomization, median oxygen flow was 9 L/min (interquartile range, 5-15) in the noninvasive ventilation group and 9 L/min (interquartile range, 6-15) in the oxygen group. All patients in the noninvasive ventilation group received the first noninvasive ventilation session immediately after randomization. On day 28 after randomization, 46 deaths (24.1%) had occurred in the noninvasive ventilation group vs 50 (27.3%) in the oxygen group (absolute difference, -3.2 [95% CI, -12.1 to 5.6]; P = .47). Oxygenation failure occurred in 155 patients overall (41.4%), 73 (38.2%) in the noninvasive ventilation group and 82 (44.8%) in the oxygen group (absolute difference, -6.6 [95% CI, -16.6 to 3.4]; P = .20). There were no significant differences in ICU-acquired infections, duration of mechanical ventilation, or lengths of ICU or hospital stays.
Conclusions and relevance: Among immunocompromised patients admitted to the ICU with hypoxemic acute respiratory failure, early noninvasive ventilation compared with oxygen therapy alone did not reduce 28-day mortality. However, study power was limited.
Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01915719.