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Lung. 1997;175(3):143-54.

Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation in acute respiratory failure of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Pulmonary Research Laboratory, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.


Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) has reemerged as an effective strategy for reducing morbidity and mortality associated with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). During acute respiratory failure, dynamic hyperinflation, intrinsic PEEP, and increased airway resistance result in a mechanical workload that exceeds inspiratory muscle capacity. NPPV provides augmentation of alveolar ventilation and respiratory muscle rest. Observational, cohort, and more recently, randomized controlled trials have demonstrated the ability of NPPV to increase the need for endotracheal intubation and decrease complications and mortality. NPPV performs better in COPD patients without significant comorbid illness. It should be initiated during COPD exacerbations if arterial pH is less than 7.35 or if the patient is severely distressed. Pressure support ventilation (10-20 cmH2O) via face mask is likely the optimal technique and, when successful, results in rapid clinical improvement.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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