Clin Respir J. 2023 Sep 12. doi: 10.1111/crj.13695. Online ahead of print.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can lead to acute hypercapnic respiratory failure (AHRF), often treated using noninvasive ventilation (NIV). Emerging research suggests the potential utility of high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) for AHRF. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to determine the effect of HFNC versus NIV on AHRF management. A search of electronic databases (CINAHL, MEDLINE, and Academic Search Complete), web sources, and trial registries was last conducted on 9 February 2023. Quality and risk of bias assessments were conducted. Meta-analyses were used to synthesise data. Seven randomised controlled trials were included. No statistically significant differences between HFNC and NIV were found within the following outcomes of interest: (i) correction of pCO2: standardised mean difference (SMD) = -0.16, 95% confidence interval (CI) (-0.34 to 0.02), p = 0.08; (ii) correction of pH: SMD = -0.05, 95% CI (-0.25 to 0.14), p = 0.59; (iii) correction of pO2: SMD = -0.15, 95% CI (-0.40 to 0.09), p = 0.22; (iv) intubation rates: risk ratio (RR) = 0.87, 95% CI (0.41 to 1.82), p = 0.71; (v) mortality rates: RR = 0.85, 95% CI (0.47 to 1.56), p = 0.61; and (vi) treatment switch: RR = 1.30, 95% CI (0.43 to 3.94), p = 0.64. More controlled trials with large sample sizes are required to investigate the management of AHRF of various aetiologies. HFNC may be used as a final exhaustive measure for COPD-related AHRF where NIV is not tolerated, and when it is not clinically indicated to extend to endotracheal intubation.