Effect of the Early Combination of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and High-Flow Nasal Cannula on Mortality and Intubation Rates in Patients With COVID-19 and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. The DUOCOVID Study

Arch Bronconeumol. 2023 May;59(5):288-294. doi: 10.1016/j.arbres.2023.01.009. Epub 2023 Feb 2.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Introduction: Non invasive respiratory support (NIRS) is useful for treating acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) secondary to COVID-19, mainly in mild-moderate stages. Although continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) seems superior to other NIRS, prolonged periods of use and poor adaptation may contribute to its failure. The combination of CPAP sessions and high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) breaks could improve comfort and keep respiratory mechanics stable without reducing the benefits of positive airway pressure (PAP). Our study aimed to determine if HFNC+CPAP initiates early lower mortality and endotracheal intubation (ETI) rates.

Methods: Subjects were admitted to the intermediate respiratory care unit (IRCU) of a COVID-19 monographic hospital between January and September 2021. They were divided according to Early HFNC+CPAP (first 24h, EHC group) and Delayed HFNC+CPAP (after 24h, DHC group). Laboratory data, NIRS parameters, and the ETI and 30-day mortality rates were collected. A multivariate analysis was performed to identify the risk factors associated with these variables.

Results: The median age of the 760 included patients was 57 (IQR 47-66), who were mostly male (66.1%). The median Charlson Comorbidity Index was 2 (IQR 1-3) and 46.8% were obese. The median PaO2/FiO2 upon IRCU admission was 95 (IQR 76-126). The ETI rate in the EHC group was 34.5%, with 41.8% for the DHC group (p=0.045), while 30-day mortality was 8.2% and 15.5%, respectively (p=0.002).

Conclusions: Particularly in the first 24h after IRCU admission, the HFNC+CPAP combination was associated with a reduction in the 30-day mortality and ETI rates in patients with ARDS secondary to COVID-19.

Keywords: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS); COVID-19; Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP); Critical care; High-flow nasal cannula (HFNC); Non invasive respiratory support (NIRS).

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / therapy
  • Cannula
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Male
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome* / therapy
  • Respiratory Insufficiency* / therapy