Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (CPAP or bilevel NPPV) for cardiogenic pulmonary edema Academic Article uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) has been widely used to alleviate signs and symptoms of respiratory distress due to cardiogenic pulmonary edema. NPPV prevents alveolar collapse and helps redistribute intra-alveolar fluid, improving pulmonary compliance and reducing the pressure of breathing. OBJECTIVES: To determine the effectiveness and safety of NPPV in the treatment of adult patients with cardiogenic pulmonary edema. SEARCH STRATEGY: We undertook a comprehensive search of the following databases in April 2005: CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, DARE and LILACS. We also reviewed reference lists of included studies and contacted experts, equipment manufacturers, and the Cochrane Heart Group. We did not apply language restrictions. SELECTION CRITERIA: We selected blinded or unblinded randomized or quasi-randomized clinical trials, reporting on adult patients with acute or acute-on-chronic cardiogenic pulmonary edema and where NPPV (continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)) and/or bilevel NPPV plus standard medical care was compared with standard medical care alone. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors independently selected articles and abstracted data using a standardized data collection form. We evaluated study quality with emphasis on allocation concealment, adherence to the intention-to-treat principle and losses to follow-up. MAIN RESULTS: We included 21 studies involving 1,071 participants. Compared to standard medical care, NPPV significantly reduced hospital mortality (RR 0.6, 95% CI 0.45 to 0.84) and endotracheal intubation (RR 0.53, 95% CI 0.34 to 0.83) with numbers needed to treat of 13 and 8, respectively. We found no difference in hospital length of stay with NPPV, however, intensive care unit stay was reduced by 1 day (WMD -1.07 days, 95% CI -1.60 to -0.53). Compared to standard medical care, we did not observe significant increases in the incidence of acute myocardial infarction with NPPV during (RR 1.24, 95% CI 0.79 to 1.95) or after (RR 0.82, 95% CI 0.09 to 7.54) its application. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: NPPV, especially CPAP, in addition to standard medical care is an effective and safe intervention for the treatment of adult patients with acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema.


  • Vital, Flávia MR
  • Saconato, Humberto
  • Ladeira, Magdaline T
  • Sen, Ayan
  • Hawkes, Claire A
  • Soares, Bernardo
  • Burns, Karen
  • Atallah, Álvaro N

publication date

  • July 16, 2008