European journal of emergency medicine : official journal of the European Society for Emergency Medicine vol:8 issue:1 pages:21-5
Patients with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) commonly present to the emergency department for treatment. Some of them, despite appropriate therapy become more dyspnoeic with increasing acute respiratory failure. The requirement for intubation and mechanical ventilation is for these patients often associated with a prolonged and complicated intensive care unit stay and has been associated with morbidity and mortality rates in excess. Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) emerged recently as a means of reducing those complications. NIV can be a safe and effective means of augmenting ventilation and decreasing inspiratory work in many patients with acute exacerbation of COPD. NIV is generally started in the intensive care unit. Except for a few negative studies, the overall compending studies seem to be in favour of the utilization of NIV in cases of exacerbation of COPD patients. There are few published data on the question whether NIV could or should be started earlier and initiated in the emergency department. It seems that NIV treatment could be an effective addition to standard treatment especially for acute exacerbation of COPD. A more extensive and routine use of non-invasive ventilation in the emergency department requires further study.