Chronic non-invasive ventilation (NIV) has become evidence-based care for stable hypercapnic COPD patients. While the number of patients increases, home initiation of NIV would greatly alleviate the healthcare burden. We hypothesise that home initiation of NIV with the use of telemedicine in stable hypercapnic COPD is non-inferior to in-hospital NIV initiation.
Sixty-seven stable hypercapnic COPD patients were randomised to initiation of NIV in the hospital or at home using telemedicine. Primary outcome was daytime arterial carbon dioxide pressure (PaCO2) reduction after 6 months NIV, with a non-inferiority margin of 0.4 kPa. Secondary outcomes were health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and costs.
Home NIV initiation was non-inferior to in-hospital initiation (adjusted mean difference in PaCO2 change home vs in-hospital: 0.04 kPa (95% CI -0.31 to 0.38 kPa), with both groups showing a PaCO2 reduction at 6 months compared with baseline (home: from 7.3±0.9 to 6.4±0.8 kPa (p<0.001) and in-hospital: from 7.4±1.0 to 6.4±0.6 kPa (p<0.001)). In both groups, HRQoL improved without a difference in change between groups (Clinical COPD Questionnaire total score-adjusted mean difference 0.0 (95% CI -0.4 to 0.5)). Furthermore, home NIV initiation was significantly cheaper (home: median €3768 (IQR €3546-€4163) vs in-hospital: median €8537 (IQR €7540-€9175); p<0.001).
This is the first study showing that home initiation of chronic NIV in stable hypercapnic COPD patients, with the use of telemedicine, is non-inferior to in-hospital initiation, safe and reduces costs by over 50%.