Noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation avoids recannulation and facilitates early weaning from tracheotomy in children*

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Objective:To show that noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation by means of a nasal mask may avoid recannulation after decannulation and facilitate early decannulation.Design:Retrospective cohort study.Setting:Ear-nose-and-throat and pulmonary department of a pediatric university hospital.Patients:The data from 15 patients (age = 2–12 yrs) who needed a tracheotomy for upper airway obstruction (n = 13), congenital diaphragmatic hypoplasia (n = 1), or lung disease (n = 1) were analyzed. Four patients received also nocturnal invasive ventilatory support for associated lung disease (n = 3) or congenital diaphragmatic hypoplasia (n = 1). Decannulation was proposed in all patients because endoscopic evaluation showed sufficient upper airway patency and normal nocturnal gas exchange with a small size closed tracheal tube, but obstructive airway symptoms occurred either immediately or with delay after decannulation without noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation.Interventions:In nine patients, noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation was started after recurrence of obstructive symptoms after a delay of 1 to 48 mos after a successful immediate decannulation. Noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation was anticipated in six patients who failed repeated decannulation trials because of poor clinical tolerance of tracheal tube removal or tube closure during sleep.Measurements and Main Results:After noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation acclimatization, decannulation was performed with success in all patients. Noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation was associated with an improvement in nocturnal gas exchange and marked clinical improvement in their obstructive sleep apnea symptoms. None of the 15 patients needed tracheal recannulation. Noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation could be withdrawn in six patients after 2 yrs to 8.5 yrs. The other nine patients still receive noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation after 1 yr to 6 yrs.Conclusions:In selected patients with upper airway obstruction or lung disease, noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation may represent a valuable tool to treat the recurrence of obstructive symptoms after decannulation and may facilitate early weaning from tracheotomy in children who failed repeated decannulation trials.

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