Category: Critical Care
Keywords: acute hypoxic respiratory failure, intubation, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation, high flow nasal cannula, BiPAP, vapotherm (PubMed Search)
ED physicians frequently utilize modailities such as noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NIV) and high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) to support and potentially avoid intubation in patients presenting with acute hypoxic respiratory failure. Unfortunately, failure of these measures, resulting in "delayed" intubation, has been associated with increased mortality.1,2
A recent post-hoc analysis of data from a multicenter randomized controlled trial evaluated 310 patients with acute hypoxic respiratory failure managed with supplemental O2 by regular nasal cannula, HFNC, or NIV.3
The following factors were predictive of eventual intubation in the different groups:
Of note, 45% of the 310 patients eventually required intubation, and these patients in general had a higher initial respiratory rate and lower PaO2 at presentation, and were more likely to have bilateral infiltrates on CXR.
Bottom Line: Reevaluate your patients frequently. If RR remains high, P:F ratio remains low, or patient respiratory effort/work of breathing is not alleviated by noninvasive measures, consider pulling the trigger on intubation earlier.