Noninvasive ventilation reduces the risk of intubation in subgroups of acute hypoxemic patients.
Immunosuppressed, acute pulmonary edema and pneumonia patients may benefit most from NIV.
Well designed randomized clinical trials are required to address the benefit in other populations.
Evaluate current recommendation for the use of noninvasive ventilation (Bi-level positive airway pressure- BiPAP modality) in hypoxemic acute respiratory failure, excluding chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Electronic searches in MEDLINE, Web of Science, Clinical Trials, and The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Clinical Trials. We searched for randomized controlled trials comparing BiPAP to a control group in patients with hypoxemic acute respiratory failure. Endotracheal intubation and death were the assessed outcomes.
Of the 563 studies found, nine met the inclusion criteria for this systematic review. The pooled RR (95% CI) for intubation in patients with acute pulmonary edema (APE)/community acquired pneumonia (CAP) and in immunosuppressed patients (cancer and transplants) were 0.61 (0.39–0.84) and 0.77 (0.60–0.93), respectively. For Intensive Care Units (ICU) mortality, the RR (95% CI) in patients with APE/CAP was 0.51 (0.22–0.79). The heterogeneity was low in all comparisons.
NIV showed a significant protective effect for intubation in immunosuppressed patients (cancer and transplants) and in patients with APE/CAP. However, the benefits of NIV for other etiologies are not clear and more trials are needed to prove these effects.