Home noninvasive ventilation reduces COPD readmissions


Clinical question: Is there a benefit to home noninvasive ventilation (NIV) following a hospital admission for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation?

Background: Preventing hospital readmission following a COPD exacerbation is a priority; however, the role of NIV in this situation remains uncertain.

Dr. Michael Herscher
Dr. Michael Herscher
Study design: Multicenter, randomized controlled trial.

Setting: 13 medical centers in the United Kingdom.

Synopsis: Investigators randomized 116 patients with COPD and persistent hypercapnia (paCO2 less than 53) 2-4 weeks following a COPD exacerbation to either home oxygen therapy with NIV or to home oxygen therapy alone. The study’s primary endpoint was a composite of time to readmission or death within 12 months. They found that the median time to this endpoint was significantly longer in the intervention group (1.4 vs. 4.3 months; 95% CI, 0.31-0.77; P = .002) and that the absolute risk reduction was 17.0% (80.4% vs. 63.4%; 95% CI, 0.1%-34.0%). The differences were driven by readmissions, as the mortality rate did not differ significantly between groups, although the study was not powered to evaluate this. Of note, the median NIV settings were 24/4, which constitutes a “high-pressure strategy” which may account for the benefits seen in this study that have been absent in some other trials.

Bottom line: NIV reduced readmissions in patients with COPD and persistent hypercapnia several weeks following an acute exacerbation.

Citation: Murphy PB, Rehal S, Arbane G, et al. Effect of home noninvasive ventilation with oxygen therapy vs. oxygen therapy alone on hospital readmission or death after an acute COPD exacerbation, a randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2017;317(21):2177-86.

Dr. Herscher is assistant professor, division of hospital medicine, Icahn School of Medicine of the Mount Sinai Health System.

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