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Anaesthesia. 2004 Oct;59(10):967-70.

Non-invasive ventilation in surgical patients in a district general hospital.

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Specialist Registrar in Chest Medicine, Queen Mary's Hospital, Sidcup, Kent, UK.


We have retrospectively audited the use of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) in surgical patients. We analysed the case notes of 38 surgical patients who received NIV over a 9-month period. Twenty-three patients received NIV following emergency surgery, eight after elective surgery, and seven did not have an operation. Co-morbidity was common. The commonest reasons for starting NIV were chest infection, acute respiratory distress syndrome and pulmonary oedema. NIV was often only one aspect of treatment in surgical patients with complex medical problems. With intensive support from the critical care outreach team, NIV can be safely delivered on a surgical ward, and may sometimes prevent intensive care unit admission. Use of NIV on the intensive care unit may obviate the need for tracheal intubation in some patients. In very ill surgical patients with a poor prognosis, NIV was frequently used as the ceiling of respiratory support.

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