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Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2013;8:215-9. doi: 10.2147/COPD.S42632. Epub 2013 Apr 26.

Long-term survival for COPD patients receiving noninvasive ventilation for acute respiratory failure.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, Odense University Hospital, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.


Implementation of noninvasive ventilation (NIV) as an add-on treatment has been routinely used in a non-intensive care setting since 2004 for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and acute hypercapnic respiratory failure at a university hospital in Denmark. Although randomized controlled trials show lowered mortality rates in highly selected patients with acute exacerbation and respiratory failure, there are only few reports on long-term survival after receiving NIV. We present long-term all-cause mortality data from patients receiving NIV for the first time.


Data from medical records were retrospectively retrieved from all patients receiving NIV for the first time after being admitted acutely to an acute medical ward and further transfer to a respiratory ward with respiratory failure and a diagnosis of COPD in the period January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2007; patients were followed until January 2012. Demographic data collected included age, sex, diagnoses at discharge, and, when present, FEV1; a "not-to-intubate" order was also registered when listed.


In total, 253 patients (143 female, 110 male) received NIV for the first time. The median age was 72 years (range 46-91 years). The 30-day mortality rate was 29.3%. The 5-year survival rate was 23.7%. Women showed a trend towards better survival than men (25.7% vs 19.2%, P = 0.25), and the trend was even more pronounced for patients with COPD.


The mortality rate of patients receiving NIV is high, as expected in a real-life setting, but with a 5-year survival rate of 23.7% with a trend towards more female than male long-term survivors.


COPD; NIV; acute respiratory failure; long-term survival

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