Nasal high flow oxygen in acute respiratory failure

Pulmonology. 2021 May-Jun;27(3):240-247. doi: 10.1016/j.pulmoe.2021.01.005. Epub 2021 Feb 13.


Thermo-humidified nasal high flow (NHF) oxygen therapy is increasingly used in the management of respiratory failure. This therapy has recently gained attention as an alternative non-invasive respiratory support in several clinical scenarios, including acute and chronic settings. NHF enhances the patient's comfort and tolerance when compared with standard oxygen by supplying a heated and humidified mixture of air and oxygen at flows up to 60L/min. It can be delivered through different devices. Although few studies have compared the clinical effects of different NHF systems, the purpose of this paper is to describe the major benefits of NHF and to provide a quick guide on how to implement this therapy in daily practice. We have also included a brief description of the most frequently used NHF systems.

Keywords: ARF; Acute respiratory failure; HFNC; HFO; High flow nasal cannula; High flow oxygen; NHF; Nasal high flow.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Humans
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy / methods*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*