Limited data are available on the use of noninvasive ventilation in patients with asthma exacerbations. The objective of this study was to characterize hospital patterns of noninvasive ventilation use in patients with asthma and to evaluate the association with the use of invasive mechanical ventilation and case fatality rate.
This cross-sectional study used an electronic medical record dataset, which includes comprehensive pharmacy and laboratory results from 58 hospitals. Data on 13,558 patients admitted from 2009 to 2012 were analyzed. Initial noninvasive ventilation (NIV) or invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) was defined as the first ventilation method during hospitalization. Hospital-level risk-standardized rates of NIV among all admissions with asthma were calculated by using a hierarchical regression model. Hospitals were grouped into quartiles of NIV to compare the outcomes.
Overall, 90.3% of patients with asthma were not ventilated, 4.0% were ventilated with NIV, and 5.7% were ventilated with IMV. Twenty-two (38%) hospitals did not use NIV for any included admissions. Hospital-level adjusted NIV rates varied considerably (range, 0.4-33.1; median, 5.2%). Hospitals in the highest quartile of NIV did not have lower IMV use (5.4% vs 5.7%), but they did have a small but significantly shorter length of stay. Higher NIV rates were not associated with lower risk-adjusted case fatality rates.
Large variation exists in hospital use of NIV for patients with an acute exacerbation of asthma. Higher hospital rates of NIV use does not seem to be associated with lower IMV rates. These results indicate a need to understand contextual and organizational factors contributing to this variability.