The Utility of High-Flow Nasal Cannula in Acute Hypoxic Respiratory Failure

High-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) is a relatively new technology that allows clinicians to treat patients with severe hypoxemia using significantly larger, humidified gas flows compared to traditional nasal cannula. Frat and colleagues compared the outcomes of patients with hypoxemic respiratory failure who were treated with HFNC, a combination of noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation and HFNC, and standard face mask oxygen therapy.

The authors found no difference in endotracheal intubation rates among the three groups at 28 days (their predefined primary outcome). However, an improvement in 90-day mortality and in subjective patient comfort was noted with HFNC over the other two treatment arms.

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