The benefits of long-term noninvasive ventilation (NIV) in stable COPD with chronic hypercapnic respiratory failure (CHRF) have been debated for many years due to the conflicting results observed in these patients.
We investigated the effects of domiciliary NIV in stable hypercapnic COPD patients for a period of 1 year using COPD Assessment Test (CAT), BODE Index, and the number of acute exacerbations. NIV was administered in 57 stable COPD patients with CHRF in the spontaneous/timed mode. Spirometry, 6 minute walk test, Medical Research Council dyspnea scale, arterial blood gases, number of acute exacerbations, BODE Index, and CAT were assessed. Study participants were reassessed in the 1st, 6th, and 12th months after the initial evaluation.
There was a significant improvement in COPD exacerbations ( p<0.001), CAT ( p<0.001), PO 2 ( p<0.001), PCO 2 ( p<0.001), and Medical Research Council dyspnea scale ( p<0.001) in 1 year of follow-up. BODE Index was improved in the first 6 months (5.8±2.2 vs 4.8±2.4, p<0.001), but the improvement was not maintained.
In conclusion, domiciliary NIV in stable COPD patients with CHRF has beneficial effect on CAT, arterial blood gases, and number of acute exacerbations in a year of NIV use at home. A significant improvement in BODE Index from baseline to 12 months was found in patients aged >70 years, while for those aged <70, the improvement was not maintained after the sixth month.