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Crit Care Med. 2017 Jun;45(6):1045-1053. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000002369.

Outcomes for Children Receiving Noninvasive Ventilation as the First-Line Mode of Mechanical Ventilation at Intensive Care Admission: A Propensity Score-Matched Cohort Study.

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1School of Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom. 2Division of Critical Care, Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, United Kingdom.



To compare outcomes of children receiving noninvasive ventilation with those receiving invasive ventilation as first-line mode of mechanical ventilation following unplanned intensive care admission.


Propensity score-matched cohort study analyzing data prospectively collected by the Pediatric Intensive Care Audit Network over 8 years (2007-2014).


Thirty-one PICUs in the United Kingdom and Ireland; twenty-one of whom submitted Pediatric Critical Care Minimum Dataset data for the entire study period.


Children consecutively admitted to study PICUs. Planned admissions following surgery, unplanned admissions from other hospitals, those on chronic ventilation, and those who did not receive mechanical ventilation on the day of PICU admission were excluded.


Use of noninvasive ventilation, rather than invasive ventilation, as the first-line mode of mechanical ventilation.


PICU mortality, length of ventilation, length of PICU stay, and ventilator-free days at day 28. During the study period, there were 151,128 PICU admissions. A total of 15,144 admissions (10%) were eligible for analysis once predefined exclusion criteria were applied: 4,804 (31.7%) received "noninvasive ventilation first," whereas 10,221 (67.5%) received "invasive ventilation first"; 119 (0.8%) admissions could not be classified. Admitting PICU site explained 6.5% of the variation in first-line mechanical ventilation group (95% CI, 2.0-19.0%). In propensity score-matched analyses, receiving noninvasive ventilation first was associated with a significant reduction in mortality by 3.1% (95% CI, 1.7-4.6%), length of ventilation by 1.6 days (95% CI, 1.0-2.3), and length of PICU stay by 2.1 days (95% CI, 1.3-3.0), as well as an increase in ventilator-free days at day 28 by 3.7 days (95% CI, 3.1-4.3).


Use of noninvasive ventilation as first-line mode of mechanical ventilation in critically ill children admitted to PICU in an unplanned fashion may be associated with significant clinical benefits. Further high-quality evidence regarding optimal patient selection and timing of initiation of noninvasive ventilation could lead to less variability in clinical care between institutions and improved patient outcomes.

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