Importance: High-flow nasal oxygen may prevent postextubation respiratory failure in the intensive care unit (ICU). The combination of high-flow nasal oxygen with noninvasive ventilation (NIV) may be an optimal strategy of ventilation to avoid reintubation.
Objective: To determine whether high-flow nasal oxygen with prophylactic NIV applied immediately after extubation could reduce the rate of reintubation, compared with high-flow nasal oxygen alone, in patients at high risk of extubation failure in the ICU.
Design, setting, and participants: Multicenter randomized clinical trial conducted from April 2017 to January 2018 among 641 patients at high risk of extubation failure (ie, older than 65 years or with an underlying cardiac or respiratory disease) at 30 ICUs in France; follow-up was until April 2018.
Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to high-flow nasal oxygen alone (n = 306) or high-flow nasal oxygen with NIV (n = 342) immediately after extubation.
Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was the proportion of patients reintubated at day 7; secondary outcomes included postextubation respiratory failure at day 7, reintubation rates up until ICU discharge, and ICU mortality.
Results: Among 648 patients who were randomized (mean [SD] age, 70  years; 219 women [34%]), 641 patients completed the trial. The reintubation rate at day 7 was 11.8% (95% CI, 8.4%-15.2%) (40/339) with high-flow nasal oxygen and NIV and 18.2% (95% CI, 13.9%-22.6%) (55/302) with high-flow nasal oxygen alone (difference, -6.4% [95% CI, -12.0% to -0.9%]; P = .02). Among the 11 prespecified secondary outcomes, 6 showed no significant difference. The proportion of patients with postextubation respiratory failure at day 7 (21% vs 29%; difference, -8.7% [95% CI, -15.2% to -1.8%]; P = .01) and reintubation rates up until ICU discharge (12% vs 20%, difference -7.4% [95% CI, -13.2% to -1.8%]; P = .009) were significantly lower with high-flow nasal oxygen and NIV than with high-flow nasal oxygen alone. ICU mortality rates were not significantly different: 6% with high-flow nasal oxygen and NIV and 9% with high-flow nasal oxygen alone (difference, -2.4% [95% CI, -6.7% to 1.7%]; P = .25).
Conclusions and relevance: In mechanically ventilated patients at high risk of extubation failure, the use of high-flow nasal oxygen with NIV immediately after extubation significantly decreased the risk of reintubation compared with high-flow nasal oxygen alone.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03121482.