Improved oxygenation 48 hours after high-flow nasal cannula oxygen therapy is associated with good outcome in immunocompromised patients with acute respiratory failure

Yun-Seong Kang, Sun Mi Choi, Jinwoo Lee, Young Sik Park, Chang-Hoon Lee, Chul-Gyu Yoo, Young Whan Kim, Sung Koo Han, Sang-Min Lee


Background: Respiratory failure requiring intubation is a risk factor for mortality in immunocompromised patients, therefore, noninvasive methods to avoid intubation are preferred in such patients. A high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) is an alternative noninvasive technique for oxygen delivery but can be potentially harmful in cases of delayed intubation. We sought to identify the physiological predictors of outcome to assess the responsiveness to HFNC of immunocompromised patients with acute respiratory failure.
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the medical records of immunocompromised patients treated with HFNC in 2015 and 2016 in a tertiary hospital. Oxygenation was assessed by calculating the SpO2/FiO2 (SF) ratio. Subjects were defined as “SF-improved” when HFNC resulted in an increase in the SF ratio compared with baseline. The values were collected at baseline, 12, 24, and 48 h.
Results: Ninety-one patients with a median age of 64 years were analyzed; 68.1% were men. There was no significant difference between the SF48-improved and the SF48-nonimproved groups in clinical baseline characteristics or severity of illness as evaluated at the time of initiation of HFNC by APACHE II, SAPS II, and SOFA. The 28-day mortality was significantly lower in the SF48-improved compared with the SF48-nonimproved group. In univariate analysis, mortality was significantly associated with body mass index (BMI), poor functional status, do-not-intubate (DNI) status, the “SF48-improved” group, the reason for immunocompromise, and the severity of illness at the time of initiation of HFNC. In multivariate analysis, “SF48-improved” group was not significantly associated with increased mortality [odds ratio (OR) 0.462; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.107–1.988; P=0.299].
Conclusions: In immunocompromised patients with acute respiratory failure, an improved SF ratio 48 h after HFNC treatment was associated with improved 28-day mortality.