To define more clearly the value of home mechanical ventilation by tracheostomy (HMVT) in patients with advanced COPD, a retrospective French multicenter study group analyzed the prognostic factors and long-term survival of 259 patients with severe COPD, who were tracheostomized for at least 1 year. Seventy-eight percent of the patients died by the end of the observation period. The actuarial survival rate for the overall study population was, therefore, 70 percent at 2 years, 44 percent at 5 years, and 20 percent at 10 years. These results appear to be better than those of the major published series and compare to the prognosis of COPD patients treated by long-term oxygen therapy (LTO) 15 hr/24 hr. The parameters most closely correlated with a survival for more than 5 years were age < 65 years, use of an uncuffed cannula, and a PaO2 > 55 mm Hg in room air during the 3 months after tracheostomy (p < 0.01). This study, therefore, confirmed the feasibility of HMVT in COPD and should lead to a review of the place of permanent tracheostomy in the long-term prognosis of severe COPD patients.