As seen in this CME online activity (available at http://journal.cme.chestnet.org/home-niv-copd), COPD is a common and debilitating disease and is currently the third leading cause of death in the United States. The role of noninvasive ventilation (NIV) in the management of severe, hypercapnic COPD has been controversial. However, it was concluded that current data would support the following recommendations. Patients with COPD with a waking Paco2>50 to 52 mm Hg, an overnight Paco2>55 mm Hg, or both who are symptomatic and compliant with other therapies should be eligible for NIV. In addition, multiple previous hospital admissions for COPD exacerbation, requiring noninvasive/invasive mechanical ventilation, strongly suggest a need for chronic NIV. Patients with COPD with a BMI>30 kg/m2 respond particularly well to this therapy. When the decision is made to start NIV, this treatment is probably best initiated during a short hospitalization, although this can be accomplished in the clinic, home, or sleep laboratory if well-trained clinicians are available. Newer modes of NIV such as volume-assured pressure support, particularly with autotitrating expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP), may create the opportunity for home NIV initiation easier for less experienced physicians. Regardless of the mode selected, inspiratory pressures must be in the 20 to 25 cm H2O range to meaningfully increase tidal volume, reduce work of breathing, and, importantly, reduce waking arterial Paco2. EPAP is currently set at 4 to 5 cm H2O, although future technologies may allow this to be individualized to maximally reduce auto-positive end expiratory pressure. The NIV device should have a backup rate although it is controversial as to whether this should be set at a high (18-20 breaths/min) vs a low (8-10 breaths/min) rate. The proper use of NIV in appropriately chosen patients with COPD can improve quality of life and increase survival. Ongoing studies are assessing if the frequency of future hospitalizations can be reduced with NIV. Thus, NIV should be strongly considered in any patients with COPD meeting the criteria described here.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine