Non-Invasive Ventilation Therapy

Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) therapy is the go-to choice for tackling cases of acute respiratory failure. NIV is designed to accommodate the patient’s needs at home or at the hospital. Making it a highly versatile and practical ventilation method.

According to a recent survey in the United States, reports show that the use of non-invasive ventilation therapy for treating acute complications of COPD went up by 400% in one decade. And was linked with a drop of 42% in invasive mechanical ventilation.

That’s exactly what makes NIV a first-line therapy for admitted and out-of-hospital patients. To find out more about what NIV is all about, the information below can help.

Non-Invasive Ventilation (NIV) Therapy – What Is It, Exactly?

Non-Invasive Ventilation (NIV) therapy is respiratory support without having to turn to direct windpipe intubation. This non-invasive therapy helps patients work on their lung capacity and lowers the breathing load. In many situations, it is the first choice of ventilatory support.

Studies point out that the application of NIV went up from 4% to 11% of all mechanical ventilation episodes between 2001 and 2004. NIV can also alleviate some uncomfortable symptoms, such as breathlessness, daytime exhaustion, and morning headaches.

Classic non-invasive ventilation examples include the use of a helmet, nasal mask, or face mask. Adequate air pressure supplies the body with the necessary oxygen. So, what makes non-invasive ventilation vs invasive ventilation different?

The mask is a tight fit around the head or face. But, compared to invasive ventilation therapy, it doesn’t need tracheal intubation. Simply put, doctors don’t insert a tube through the mouth and into the windpipe. This makes NIV a lot more comfortable and practical to use.

When Do You Use NIV?

NIV is appropriate for people with troubled breathing. Whether it is caused by a sudden ailment or a long-term breathing issue. This type of therapy can help with conditions like:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Respiratory failure/distress
  • Rib fracture
  • Pneumonia
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Asthma
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

There is no need to make any special preparations to start using NIV. Your health care provider will offer practical advice on how to use your machine. Follow your doctor’s instructions to reap the benefits.

How Does Non-Invasive Ventilation Work?

NIV works by curbing afterload and preload, increasing ventilation and gas exchange, and reducing work of breathing. Within an hour, non-invasive therapy can decrease the patient’s feelings of shortness of breath. It can also better their heart rate and respiratory rate, compared to how they would feel just by inhaling oxygen alone.

The primary benefit of NIV is that this therapy can curb the daytime symptoms that might have developed from extra carbon dioxide (CO2) or low oxygen (O2) levels. The symptoms gradually subside and amplify the patient’s quality of life.

In many cases, NIV has been shown to decrease hospital stays and keep ailments from worsening. With proper ventilation, patients could avoid respiratory failure. This may be particularly useful when dealing with respiratory diseases.

What Are the Different Types of Non-Invasive Ventilation?

NIV has two primary types. These include:

  • Negative pressure NIV – This type of NIV uses negative pressure to the thorax and abdomen to draw air into the lungs via the upper airway. Some examples of negative pressure ventilators include pulmotor, jacket ventilator, cuirass ventilator, and tank ventilator.
  • Positive pressure NIV – This type of NIV adds positive pressure to the airway, making it a viable option to directly inflate the lungs.

When it comes to positive pressure ventilation, it is divided into two types. They include CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) and BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Pressure). Many people are asking what is the difference between CPAP and NIV? Here is a more detailed look at non-invasive ventilation vs CPAP.

NIV isn’t the same as CPAP. CPAP isn’t meant to deliver ventilation. But, can be utilized in some ailments which are also managed with NIV. NIV (non-invasive ventilation) is used in acute respiratory failure. Doctors might even recommend long-term NIV use if a patient can’t breathe independently due to a certain chronic ailment.

Is the NIV painful?

People want to know “what does non-invasive ventilation feel like”? Whether it is painful or causes any discomfort. To use a ventilator, like a mask, for example, you will wear it firmly over your mouth. But, it shouldn’t be secured too tight.

When you inhale, you will feel a flow of air supporting your breathing. This air comes directly from the machine. As you exhale, there will be slight resistance. This is meant to keep the tiny air passages of the lungs wide open and stabilize the oxygen flow. It takes some getting used to and feels odd at first. But, once you get accustomed to it, you can sleep better and perform your daily tasks.

Although NIV is generally seen as a comfortable therapy, intolerance could impact 30% to 50% of patients. Despite the doctor’s best efforts to guide patients on how to use the therapy, discomfort is the primary factor for NIV failure. It’s responsible for 12% to 33% of cases.

Among different non-invasive ventilation types, masks with a mouthpiece had the poorest tolerance. Followed by oronasal and nasal masks. Some users complain that the straps are too tight. Or they can’t get the hang of the product.

Any Risks I Should Watch Out For?

NIV is often safe. But, just like any therapy out there, it is possible to experience some risks. Such as:

  • Eye irritation or pressure injury – This means that you didn’t apply the mask correctly and it’s causing problems for your eyes.
  • Plummeting blood pressure – Depending on the health condition you are dealing with, it’s important to monitor your blood pressure when using NIV. Your doctor will also keep tabs on your blood pressure.
  • Bloating – If you’ve swallowed too much air, you may feel bloated. Make sure you are using the mask correctly.
  • Lung injury – An underlying lung condition or elevated pressures can put a strain on the lungs. Consult with a doctor if you are having such problems.

What Happens After NIV Therapy?

You will do regular follow-ups with your doctor to know whether your condition has improved well enough for you to stop using the treatment. When the NIV therapy is successfully completed, patients attend a pulmonary rehab program.

Rehab can send their recovery on the right track and decrease the odds of getting sick again. If any additional treatment is necessary, like at home or at the hospital, your doctor will advise you on the best course of action to take.

Patients with healthy enough lungs will be advised to follow practical lifestyle changes. That includes incorporating healthy food choices with an abundance of nutrients and vitamins. But, it is essential to stop smoking, so that the lungs stay healthy.

If your doctor provided you with a treatment plan or other strategies, make sure you follow them. This is the best way to remain healthy after non-invasive ventilation.