The benefits of acute non-invasive ventilation to treat acidotic exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are well-established. Until recently, the evidence for home mechanical ventilation (HMV) to treat patients with stable COPD had been lacking. This has subsequently been addressed by the application of higher levels of pressure support combined with targeted management of chronic respiratory failure, which demonstrated a reduction in all-cause mortality. Similarly, the previous trial of home oxygen therapy (HOT) and HMV delivered following an acute exacerbation failed to demonstrate an improvement in outcome. With the focus on patients with persistent hypercapnic respiratory failure in the recovery phase following a life-threatening exacerbation combined with targeted reduction in carbon dioxide, HOT and HMV (HOT-HMV) was shown to be clinically effective in reducing the time to readmission or death and cost effective in both the United Kingdom and United States healthcare systems. Future work will need to focus on promoting adherence to home ventilation and novel auto-titrating ventilator modes to facilitate and optimize the set-up of overnight ventilatory support in different target population such as COPD patients with obstructive sleep apnoea and COPD patients with episodic nocturnal hypoventilation.
Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; critical care; sleep; ventilation.
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