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Chest. 2010 Jul;138(1):114-20. doi: 10.1378/chest.09-2290. Epub 2010 Feb 12.

Helmet continuous positive airway pressure vs oxygen therapy to improve oxygenation in community-acquired pneumonia: a randomized, controlled trial.

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Emergency Medicine Department, Gruppo NIV, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Via F. Sforza 35, 20122 Milan, Italy.



Our objective was to evaluate the efficacy of noninvasive continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) delivered by helmet in improving oxygenation in comparison with oxygen therapy in community-acquired pneumonia (CAP).


This was a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial enrolling patients with CAP admitted to an ED with moderate hypoxemic acute respiratory failure (ARF) (Pa(O(2))/Fi(O(2)) ratio > or = 210 and < or = 285). Patients were randomized to helmet CPAP or standard oxygen therapy (control group). The primary end point was the time to reach a Pa(O(2))/Fi(O(2)) ratio > 315. After reaching this value, patients randomized to CPAP were switched to oxygen, and the proportion of subjects who could maintain a Pa(O(2))/Fi(O(2)) ratio > 315 at 1 h was recorded.


Forty-seven patients were recruited: 20 randomized to CPAP and 27 to controls. Patients randomized to CPAP reached the end point in a median of 1.5 h, whereas controls reached the end point in 48 h (P < .001). The proportion of patients who reached the primary end point was 95% (19/20) among the CPAP group and 30% (8/27) among controls (P < .001). One hour after reaching the primary end point, 2/14 patients in the CPAP group maintained a Pa(O(2))/Fi(O(2)) value > 315.


CPAP delivered by helmet rapidly improves oxygenation in patients with CAP suffering from a moderate hypoxemic ARF. This trial represents a proof-of-concept evaluation of the potential usefulness of CPAP in patients with CAP.


[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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