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Role of BiPAP applied through endotracheal tube in unconscious patients suffering from acute exacerbation of COPD: a pilot study

Authors Rawat J, Sindhwani G, Biswas D, Dua R

Received 22 January 2012

Accepted for publication 28 March 2012

Published 11 May 2012 Volume 2012:7 Pages 321—325


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Jagdish Rawat,1 Girish Sindhwani,1 Debasis Biswas,2 Ruchi Dua1

1Department of Pulmonary Medicine, 2Department of Microbiology, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Swami Ram Nagar, Jolly Grant, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

Background and objectives: Mechanical ventilation is the recommended treatment in unconscious patients with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and hypercapenic respiratory failure. But, in resource-poor countries, many of these patients are not able to afford this treatment due to financial constraints. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the usefulness, safety and cost-effectiveness of bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) applied via endotracheal tube in such patients.
Methods: Twenty patients with acute exacerbation of COPD and altered sensorium, who were unable to afford ventilatory support, were intubated and BiPAP therapy was provided to these patients through the endotracheal tube. The outcome of these patients was studied.
Results: The BiPAP success rate and hospital mortality were 85% (17/20) and 15% (3/20) respectively. BiPAP failure was associated with high sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) score at the time of admission (P = 0.002). Improvement in Glasgow coma scale (GCS) score (P < 0.001), pH (P = 0.001), PaCO2 (partial pressure of carbon dioxide) (P < 0.001), respiratory rate (P < 0.001), and SOFA score (P = 0.001) was observed among the responders following 2 hours of therapy. Only one of the responders developed aspiration pneumonitis, as a complication. The daily cost of BiPAP therapy was 8.75 times lower than the average cost of mechanical ventilation.
Conclusion: This pilot study reveals that this treatment modality could be a safe, cost-effective and efficacious method of treatment in unconscious patients with acute exacerbation of COPD.

Keywords: bilevel positive air way pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypercapenic respiratory failure

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