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Eur Respir J. 2002 Nov;20(5):1332-42.

Noninvasive ventilation in children.

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  • 1Danish Respiratory Centre West, Arhus University Hospital, Nørrebrogade 44, Arhus, Denmark.


The use of noninvasive ventilation (NIV)/ventilatory assistance has in its modern form experienced a resurgence during the last two decades, primarily in the adult population. During the last few years, NIV, predominantly in the form of positive-pressure ventilation/ventilatory assistance, has also become an option in the paediatric population. Although the technique is increasingly being applied, data in this often very heterogeneous group of patients are still very limited, and are usually derived from case series and not randomised controlled studies. Available experience indicates that the technique is useful for children with a wide spectrum of hypercapnic and/or hypoxaemic respiratory disorders, in the acute as well as in the chronic setting. Results have shown improvements in survival and arterial blood gases, and have indicated better quality of life. Adverse effects are generally minor, although the impact on facial bony structures should be monitored closely during long-term ventilation. Considering the paucity of data, the area badly needs research, which preferentially should include: 1) short- and long-term effects and adverse effects in various conditions and age groups; 2) techniques, in particular interfaces and triggering mechanisms; 3) comprehensive plans for training of attendants, discharge and follow-up; and 4) quality of life measurements. As many of the conditions suited for noninvasive ventilation are very rare, much of the research would probably benefit from multicentre studies, or even studies on a European level.

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