BACKGROUND: Long-term noninvasive ventilation (NIV) is an effective treatment for patients with chronic respiratory failure due to chest-wall deformity, but it is unknown if the time required for the patient to adjust to long-term NIV depends on whether the NIV is volume-targeted or pressure-targeted. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether volume controlled or pressure controlled NIV is easier to implement in patients with chronic respiratory failure due to chest-wall deformity. METHODS: We randomized 16 ventilator-naive patients to receive either volume-targeted or pressure-targeted nocturnal NIV. The primary outcome was the number of days needed to successfully establish NIV, defined as adequate adjustment and effective ventilation, as measured with overnight arterial blood gas measurement. RESULTS: Two patients did not tolerate volume NIV, and switched to pressure NIV. NIV was successfully established in both groups after a median 6.0 days. There were no significant differences between the groups at any time point in P(aCO2) or P(aO2) improvement, nor in changes over time. CONCLUSIONS: There was no significant difference in days needed to successfully establish volume NIV versus pressure NIV in patients with chest-wall deformity. However, two patients switched successfully from volume NIV to pressure NIV, which suggests that they preferred pressure NIV.