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Intensive Care Med. 2010 Apr;36(4):638-47. doi: 10.1007/s00134-009-1743-6. Epub 2010 Jan 6.

Noninvasive and invasive ventilation in acute respiratory failure associated with bronchiectasis.

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Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, National University Hospital, Singapore, 119074, Singapore.



To describe the outcomes of patients with bronchiectasis and acute respiratory failure (ARF) treated with noninvasive ventilation (NIV) and invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) after a failure of conservative measures, and to identify the predictors of hospital mortality and NIV failure.


Retrospective review of bronchiectatic patients on NIV (n = 31) or IMV (n = 26) for ARF over 8 years in a medical intensive care unit (ICU) experienced in NIV.


At baseline, the NIV group had more patients with acute exacerbations without identified precipitating factors (87.1 vs. 34.6%, p < 0.001), higher pH (mean 7.25 vs. 7.18, p = 0.008) and PaO(2)/FiO(2) ratio (mean 249.4 vs. 173.2, p = 0.02), and a trend towards a lower APACHE II score (mean 25.3 vs. 28.4, p = 0.07) than the IMV group. There was no difference in hospital mortality between the two groups (25.8 vs. 26.9%, p > 0.05). The NIV failure rate (need for intubation or death in the ICU) was 32.3%. Using logistic regression, the APACHE II score was the only predictor of hospital mortality (OR 1.19 per point), and the PaO(2)/FiO(2) ratio was the only predictor of NIV failure (OR 1.02 per mmHg decrease).


The hospital mortality of patients with bronchiectasis and ARF approximates 25% and is predicted by the APACHE II score. When selectively applied, NIV fails in one-third of the patients, and this is predicted by hypoxemia. Our findings call for randomised controlled trials to compare NIV versus IMV in such patients.

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