Advanced Respiratory Support in the Contemporary Cardiac ICU

Thomas S. Metkus*, P. Elliott Miller, Carlos L. Alviar, Vivian M. Baird-Zars, Erin A. Bohula, Paul C. Cremer, Daniel A. Gerber, Jacob C. Jentzer, Ellen C. Keeley, Michael C. Kontos, Venu Menon, Jeong Gun Park, Robert O. Roswell, Steven P. Schulman, Michael A. Solomon, Sean Van Diepen, Jason N. Katz, David A. Morrow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objectives: The medical complexity and critical care needs of patients admitted to cardiac ICUs are increasing, and prospective studies examining the underlying cardiac and noncardiac diagnoses, the management strategies, and the prognosis of cardiac ICU patients with respiratory failure are needed. Design: Prospective cohort study. Setting: The Critical Care Cardiology Trials Network is a research collaborative of cardiac ICUs across the United States and Canada. Patients: We included all medical cardiac ICU admissions at 25 cardiac ICUs during two consecutive months annually at each center from 2017 to 2019. Measurements: We evaluated the use of advanced respiratory therapies including invasive mechanical ventilation, noninvasive ventilation, and high-flow nasal cannula versus no advanced respiratory support across admission diagnoses and the association with in-hospital mortality. Main Results: Of 8,240 cardiac ICU admissions, 1,935 (23.5%) were treated with invasive mechanical ventilation, 573 (7.0%) with noninvasive ventilation, and 281 (3.4%) with high-flow nasal cannula. Admitting diagnoses among those with advanced respiratory support were diverse including general medical problems in patients with heart disease as well as primary cardiac problems. In-hospital mortality was higher in patients who received invasive mechanical ventilation (38.1%; adjusted odds ratio, 2.53; 2.02-3.16) and noninvasive ventilation or high-flow nasal cannula (8.8%; adjusted odds ratio, 2.25; 1.73-2.93) compared with patients without advanced respiratory support (4.6%). Reintubation rate was 7.6%. The most common variables associated with respiratory insufficiency included heart failure, infection, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pulmonary vascular disease. Conclusions: One-third of cardiac ICU admissions receive respiratory support with associated increased mortality. These data provide benchmarks for quality improvement ventures in the cardiac ICU, inform cardiac critical care training and staffing patterns, and serve as foundation for future studies aimed at improving outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E0182
JournalCritical Care Explorations
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 17 2020


  • cardiac
  • critical care
  • intensive care unit
  • mechanical ventilation
  • noninvasive ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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