Non-invasive ventilation in obesity hypoventilation syndrome without severe obstructive sleep apnoea

Thorax. 2016 Oct;71(10):899-906. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2016-208501. Epub 2016 Jul 12.


Background: Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) is an effective form of treatment in patients with obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS) who have concomitant severe obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). However, there is a paucity of evidence on the efficacy of NIV in patients with OHS without severe OSA. We performed a multicentre randomised clinical trial to determine the comparative efficacy of NIV versus lifestyle modification (control group) using daytime arterial carbon dioxide tension (PaCO2) as the main outcome measure.

Methods: Between May 2009 and December 2014 we sequentially screened patients with OHS without severe OSA. Participants were randomised to NIV versus lifestyle modification and were followed for 2 months. Arterial blood gas parameters, clinical symptoms, health-related quality of life assessments, polysomnography, spirometry, 6-min walk distance test, blood pressure measurements and healthcare resource utilisation were evaluated. Statistical analysis was performed using intention-to-treat analysis.

Results: A total of 365 patients were screened of whom 58 were excluded. Severe OSA was present in 221 and the remaining 86 patients without severe OSA were randomised. NIV led to a significantly larger improvement in PaCO2 of -6 (95% CI -7.7 to -4.2) mm Hg versus -2.8 (95% CI -4.3 to -1.3) mm Hg, (p<0.001) and serum bicarbonate of -3.4 (95% CI -4.5 to -2.3) versus -1 (95% CI -1.7 to -0.2 95% CI) mmol/L (p<0.001). PaCO2 change adjusted for NIV compliance did not further improve the inter-group statistical significance. Sleepiness, some health-related quality of life assessments and polysomnographic parameters improved significantly more with NIV than with lifestyle modification. Additionally, there was a tendency towards lower healthcare resource utilisation in the NIV group.

Conclusions: NIV is more effective than lifestyle modification in improving daytime PaCO2, sleepiness and polysomnographic parameters. Long-term prospective studies are necessary to determine whether NIV reduces healthcare resource utilisation, cardiovascular events and mortality.

Trial registration number: NCT01405976; results.

Keywords: Non invasive ventilation; Sleep apnoea.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noninvasive Ventilation / methods*
  • Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome / complications
  • Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome / therapy*
  • Partial Pressure
  • Polysomnography
  • Respiratory Function Tests / methods
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vital Capacity / physiology


  • Carbon Dioxide

Associated data