Use of protracted CPAP as a supportive treatment for COVID-19 pneumonitis and associated outcomes: a national cohort study

Kathryn Puxty, Michael Blayney, Callum T Kaye, Joanne McPeake, Neil I Stewart, Martin Paton, Ros Hall, Lorraine Donaldson, Nazir I Lone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

BACKGROUND: Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) has been increasingly deployed to manage patients with COVID-19 and acute respiratory failure, often for protracted periods. However, concerns about protracted CPAP have been raised. This study aimed to examine the use of CPAP for patients with COVID-19 and the outcomes after protracted use.

METHODS: This was a national cohort study of all adults admitted to Scottish critical care units with COVID-19 from March 1, 2020 to December 25, 2021 who received CPAP. Protracted CPAP was defined as ≥ 5 continuous days of CPAP. Outcomes included CPAP failure rate (institution of invasive mechanical ventilation [IMV] or death), mortality, and outcomes after institution of IMV. Multivariable logistic regression was performed to assess the impact of protracted CPAP on mortality after IMV.

RESULTS: A total of 1961 patients with COVID-19 received CPAP for COVID-19 pneumonitis, with 733 patients (37.4%) receiving protracted CPAP. CPAP failure occurred in 891 (45.4%): 544 patients (27.7%) received IMV and 347 patients (17.7%) died in critical care without IMV. Hospital mortality rate was 41.3% for the population. For patients who subsequently commenced IMV, hospital mortality was 58.7% for the standard duration CPAP group and 73.9% for the protracted duration CPAP group (P=0.003); however, there was no statistical difference in hospital mortality after adjustment for confounders (odds ratio 1.4, 95% confidence interval 0.84-2.33, P=0.195).

CONCLUSIONS: Protracted CPAP was used frequently for managing patients with COVID-19. Whilst it was not associated with worse outcomes for those patients who subsequently required IMV, this might be due to residual confounding and differences in processes of care.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Early online date25 May 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 May 2023


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