Non-invasive high-frequency oscillatory ventilation (NHFOV) consists of the application of a bias flow generating a continuous distending positive pressure with superimposed oscillations, which have constant frequency and active expiratory phase. NHFOV matches together the advantages of high-frequency ventilation (no need for synchronisation, high efficacy in removing CO2) and nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) (non-invasive interface, increase in functional residual capacity allowing oxygenation to improve). There is enough clinical expertise demonstrating that NHFOV may be tried in some selected cases, in whom CPAP or conventional non-invasive ventilation have failed. Nonetheless, there are no clear data about its clinical usefulness and there is a need for randomised controlled studies. Our purpose is to review the physiology and biological effects of NHFOV, to present the current clinical evidence on its use, to provide some guiding principles to clinicians and suggest directions for further research.
- high frequency oscillatory ventilation
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