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Use of non-invasive ventilation in UK emergency departments
  1. J Browning,
  2. B Atwood,
  3. A Gray,
  4. on behalf of the 3CPO trial group
  1. Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 A Gray
 Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, 25 Little France Crescent, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh EH3 9YW, UK;alasdair.gray{at}


Aim: To describe the current use of non-invasive ventilation in UK emergency departments.

Methods: A structured questionnaire was sent to all UK emergency departments assessing 25,000 new patients annually.

Results: 222 of 233 departments completed the questionnaire. 148 currently use non-invasive ventilation (NIV). Most used NIV for either cardiogenic pulmonary oedema (n = 128) or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (n = 115). Only 49 departments have protocols for NIV use and 23 audited practice.

Conclusion: NIV is commonly used in UK emergency departments. Practices vary significantly. One solution would be the development of guidelines on when and how to use NIV in emergency medicine practice.

  • BiPAP, bilevel positive airway pressure
  • COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • CPAP, continuous positive airway pressure
  • NIPPV, non-invasive positive pressure ventilation
  • NIV, non-invasive ventilation

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  • Competing interests: None.