High flow nasal oxygen in patients with COVID-19 associated acute respiratory failure
Purpose Whether the use of high-flow nasal oxygen in adult patients with COVID-19 associated acute respiratory failure improves clinically relevant outcomes remains unclear. We thus sought to assess the effect of high flow nasal oxygen on ventilator free days, compared to early initiation of invasive mechanical ventilation, on adult patients with COVID-19. Methods We conducted a multicentre cohort study using a prospectively collected database of patients with COVID-19 associated acute
... ated acute respiratory failure admitted to 36 Spanish and Andorran intensive care units. Main exposure was the use of high flow nasal oxygen (conservative group), while early invasive mechanical (within the first day of critical care admission; early intubation group) served as the comparator. The primary outcome was ventilator-free days at 28 days. Intensive care unit length of stay and all-cause in hospital mortality served as secondary outcomes. We used propensity score matching to adjust for measured confounding. Results A total of 122 matched patients were included in the present analysis (61 for each group). When compared to early intubation, the use of high flow nasal oxygen was associated with an increase in ventilator-free days (mean difference: 8.0 days; 95% confidence interval (CI): 4.4 to 11.7 days), and a reduction in intensive care unit length of stay (mean difference: -8.2 days; 95% CI -12.7 to -3.6 days). No difference was observed in all-cause in-hospital mortality between groups (odds ratio: 0.64; 95% CI: 0.25 to 1.64). Conclusions The use of high flow nasal oxygen upon intensive care admission in adult patients with COVID-19 related acute hypoxemic respiratory failure may lead to an increase in ventilator-free days and a reduction in intensive care unit length of stay, when compared to early initiation of invasive mechanical ventilation. Future studies should confirm our findings.