Cardiogenic pulmonary edema (CPE) is among the most common causes of acute respiratory failure (ARF) in the acute care setting and often requires ventilatory assistance. In patients with ARF due to CPE, use of non-invasive positive airway pressure can decrease the systemic venous return and the left ventricular (LV) afterload, thus reducing LV filling pressure and limiting pulmonary edema. In these patients, either non-invasive ventilation (NIV) or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) can improve vital signs and physiological parameters, decreasing the need for endotracheal intubation (ETI) and hospital mortality when compared to conventional oxygen therapy. Results on the use of NIV or CPAP in patients with CPE prior to hospitalization are not homogeneous among studies, hampering any conclusive recommendation regarding their role in the pre-hospital setting.
Keywords: Heart failure, pulmonary edema; continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP); non-invasive ventilation (NIV).