European Journal of Emergency Medicine vol:9 issue:3 pages:217-24
A study was undertaken to assess the availability and use of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) for the treatment of acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in emergency departments in Belgium. A questionnaire was sent to the head physicians of 145 emergency departments (EDs) found in the list of the Belgian College of Emergency Physicians (BeCEP). Ninety eight questionnaires were analysed (representing 68% of the questionnaires sent). NIV was used in 49% of the EDs. In the hospitals where NIV was not used, the most important reasons given were no available equipment in 71%, lack of experience with this form of treatment in 32.7%, and more time consuming for physicians and nursing staff in 22.8%. Only 3.8% of the physicians doubted the benefit of NIV treatment. In the hospitals where NIV was used, the patient was watched during the first hour by one nurse only in 19.6%, by one physician in 8.6% and by a nurse and a physician in 54.5%. NIV was used for more than 4 h in 33% of EDs. Pressure-controlled ventilation (with home respirators) was used more often than volume-controlled ventilation.