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Crit Care Resusc. 2005 Jun;7(2):116-8.

Non-invasive Mechanical Ventilation Enhances Patient Autonomy in Decision-Making Regarding Chronic Ventilation.

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  • 1Medical Intensive Care Unit, Department of Medicine, Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel.



Patients with respiratory failure due to progressive muscle weakness often require chronic ventilatory support, but many do not make decisions regarding ventilation prior to a crisis. We studied the use of non-invasive ventilation as a tool to enable communication and facilitate decision-making regarding chronic ventilation.


Patients with profound muscle weakness and acute respiratory failure, were supported or weaned by non-invasive positive or negative pressure ventilation. The patients were then interviewed and their informed autonomous decisions were used to plan their future management.


Non-invasive ventilation could be used safely to support patients with acute respiratory failure until decisions regarding chronic ventilation are made and as an alternative means of ventilation for those who refuse tracheostomy.


Non-invasive ventilation may be used in patients with profound muscle weakness, as a means of enhancing patient autonomy by improving communication and maintaining ventilation until decisions about ongoing care are made.

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