High-frequency oscillation in adults: A utilization review* Journal Articles uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVES: High-frequency oscillation is used for adults with acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome. Given the uncertain benefits, our objective was to describe contemporary patient selection, high-frequency oscillation utilization, and outcomes. DESIGN: Utilization review. SETTING: Ten academic centers (Ontario, Canada; January 1, 2005-January 31, 2007). PATIENTS: We included 190 consecutive adults treated with high-frequency oscillation and retrospectively abstracted data on patient demographics, gas exchange, hemodynamics, settings during conventional ventilation and high-frequency oscillation, adjunctive therapies, and outcomes. We used logistic regression to explore associations with oxygenation response and hemodynamic and ventilatory complications (2 hrs after high-frequency oscillation initiation) and mortality. Continuous data are reported as mean (sd) or median (quartile 1, quartile 3). INTERVENTIONS: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Patients (60.0% male; mean age, 52; sd 17) had predominantly acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome (89.8%) and were severely ill (mean Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score, 28; sd, 9) and hypoxemic (mean Pao2/Fio2, 80; sd, 42). High-frequency oscillation was started a median of 2 (1, 8) days after intubation and continued for a median of 3 (2, 7) days. During high-frequency oscillation, adjunctive treatments (neuromuscular blockade, 75.6%; recruitment maneuvers, 49.5%; nitric oxide, 34.0%; steroids, 63.1%) and new barotrauma or chest tube placement (23.5%) were common. Ten patients (5.3%) had technical complications; five required a new ventilator. Reasons for stopping high-frequency oscillation included death or withdrawal of life support (39.1%), significant improvement in respiratory failure (37.6%), and inadequate improvement (23.3%). One hundred and twenty-eight of 189 patients died in hospital. Most (62.5%) had a positive oxygenation response after 2 hrs of high-frequency oscillation (mean absolute increase in PaO₂/FiO₂, 22 [SD, 54]; 95% confidence interval of mean 14-31). A minority had lower PaO₂/FiO₂ (32.5%) or a hemodynamic (27.5%) or ventilatory (30.5%) complication. Older age, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II score, and Paco2 before high-frequency oscillation were independently associated with mortality. CONCLUSIONS: Most patients treated with high-frequency oscillation have acute respiratory distress syndrome and severe hypoxemia that modestly improves 2 hrs after high-frequency oscillation application. However, oxygenation worsens in some patients, complications are common, and mortality is high.


  • Adhikari, Neill KJ
  • Bashir, Abdel
  • Lamontagne, François
  • Mehta, Sangeeta
  • Ferguson, Niall D
  • Zhou, Qi
  • Hand, Lori
  • Czarnecka, Kasia
  • Cook, Deborah
  • Granton, John T
  • Friedrich, Jan O
  • Freitag, Andy
  • Watpool, Irene
  • Meade, Maureen

publication date

  • December 2011