Importance: High-flow nasal oxygen therapy is increasingly used for acute hypoxemic respiratory failure (AHRF).
Objective: To determine whether high-flow oxygen therapy decreases mortality among immunocompromised patients with AHRF compared with standard oxygen therapy.
Design, setting, and participants: The HIGH randomized clinical trial enrolled 776 adult immunocompromised patients with AHRF (Pao2 <60 mm Hg or Spo2 <90% on room air, or tachypnea >30/min or labored breathing or respiratory distress, and need for oxygen ≥6 L/min) at 32 intensive care units (ICUs) in France between May 19, 2016, and December 31, 2017.
Interventions: Patients were randomized 1:1 to continuous high-flow oxygen therapy (n = 388) or to standard oxygen therapy (n = 388).
Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was day-28 mortality. Secondary outcomes included intubation and mechanical ventilation by day 28, Pao2:Fio2 ratio over the 3 days after intubation, respiratory rate, ICU and hospital lengths of stay, ICU-acquired infections, and patient comfort and dyspnea.
Results: Of 778 randomized patients (median age, 64 [IQR, 54-71] years; 259 [33.3%] women), 776 (99.7%) completed the trial. At randomization, median respiratory rate was 33/min (IQR, 28-39) vs 32 (IQR, 27-38) and Pao2:Fio2 was 136 (IQR, 96-187) vs 128 (IQR, 92-164) in the intervention and control groups, respectively. Median SOFA score was 6 (IQR, 4-8) in both groups. Mortality on day 28 was not significantly different between groups (35.6% vs 36.1%; difference, -0.5% [95% CI, -7.3% to +6.3%]; hazard ratio, 0.98 [95% CI, 0.77 to 1.24]; P = .94). Intubation rate was not significantly different between groups (38.7% vs 43.8%; difference, -5.1% [95% CI, -12.3% to +2.0%]). Compared with controls, patients randomized to high-flow oxygen therapy had a higher Pao2:Fio2 (150 vs 119; difference, 19.5 [95% CI, 4.4 to 34.6]) and lower respiratory rate after 6 hours (25/min vs 26/min; difference, -1.8/min [95% CI, -3.2 to -0.2]). No significant difference was observed in ICU length of stay (8 vs 6 days; difference, 0.6 [95% CI, -1.0 to +2.2]), ICU-acquired infections (10.0% vs 10.6%; difference, -0.6% [95% CI, -4.6 to +4.1]), hospital length of stay (24 vs 27 days; difference, -2 days [95% CI, -7.3 to +3.3]), or patient comfort and dyspnea scores.
Conclusions and relevance: Among critically ill immunocompromised patients with acute respiratory failure, high-flow oxygen therapy did not significantly decrease day-28 mortality compared with standard oxygen therapy.
Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT02739451.