BACKGROUND: Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) is an evidence-based treatment for acute respiratory failure in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, suboptimal application of NIV in clinical practice, possibly due to poor guideline adherence, can impact patient outcomes. This study aims to evaluate guideline adherence to NIV for acute COPD exacerbations and explore its impact on mortality.
METHODS: This retrospective study was performed in two Dutch medical centers from 2019 to 2021. All patients admitted to the pulmonary ward or intensive care unit with a COPD exacerbation were included. An indication for NIV was considered in the event of a respiratory acidosis.
RESULTS: A total of 1162 admissions (668 unique patients) were included. NIV was started in 154 of the 204 admissions (76%) where NIV was indicated upon admission. Among 78 admissions where patients deteriorated later on, NIV was started in 51 admissions (65%). Considering patients not receiving NIV due to contra-indications or patient refusal, the overall guideline adherence rate was 82%. Common reasons for not starting NIV when indicated included no perceived signs of respiratory distress, opting for comfort care only, and choosing a watchful waiting approach. Better survival was observed in patients who received NIV when indicated compared to those who did not.
CONCLUSIONS: The adherence to guidelines regarding NIV initiation is good. Nevertheless, further improving NIV treatment in clinical practice could be achieved through training healthcare professionals to increase awareness and reduce reluctance in utilizing NIV. By addressing these factors, patient outcomes may be further enhanced.
- Acute respiratory failure
- Non-invasive ventilation