What Does Built-In Software of Home Ventilators Tell Us? An Observational Study of 150 Patients on Home Ventilation

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Abstract

Background:

Recent home ventilators are equipped with built-in software which provides data such as compliance, estimations of leaks, tidal volume, minute ventilation, respiratory rate, apnea and apnea-hypopnea indexes, and percentage of inspirations triggered by the patient (or ventilator). However, for many of these variables, there is neither consensus nor documentation as to what is to be expected in a population of stable patients under noninvasive ventilation (NIV).

Objectives:

To document the values and distribution of specific items downloaded from ventilator monitoring software, by diagnostic category.

Methods:

Analysis of data downloaded from home ventilators in clinically stable patients under long-term NIV, during elective home visits by specialized nurses.

Results:

Data were collected from home ventilators of 150 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (n = 32), overlap syndrome (n = 29), obesity-hypoventilation (n = 38), neuromuscular disorders (n = 19), restrictive disorders (n = 21), and central sleep apnea syndrome (n = 11). On average, leaks were low, being lowest in patients with facial masks (vs. nasal masks), and increased with older age. Compliance was excellent in all groups. Patients with neuromuscular diseases triggered their ventilators less and tended to be ‘captured’, while other groups triggered at least half of inspiratory cycles. Most patients had a respiratory rate just slightly above the back-up rate. Residual apneas and hypopneas were highest in patients with central apneas.

Conclusions:

Built-in software of home ventilators provides the clinician with new parameters, some of which are a useful adjunct to recommended tools for monitoring NIV and may contribute to a better understanding of residual hypoventilation and/or desaturations. However, an independent validation of the accuracy of this information is mandatory.

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