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BackgroundThe effects of high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) on adult patients when used before mechanical ventilation (MV) are unclear. We aimed to determine the effectiveness of HFNC when used before MV by comparison to conventional oxygen therapy (COT) and noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV).MethodsThe Pubmed, Embase, Medline, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) as well as the Information Sciences Institute (ISI) Web of Science were searched for all the controlled studies that compared HFNC with NIPPV and COT when used before MV in adult patients. The primary outcome was the rate of endotracheal intubation and the secondary outcomes were intensive care unit (ICU) mortality and length of ICU stay (ICU LOS).ResultsEight trials with a total of 1084 patients were pooled in our final studies. No significant heterogeneity was found in outcome measures. Compared both with COT and NIPPV, HFNC could reduce both of the rate of endotracheal intubation (OR 0.62, 95% CI 0.38-0.99, P=0.05; OR 0.48, 95% CI 0.31-0.73, P=0.0006) and ICU mortality (OR 0.47, 95% CI 0.24-0.93, P=0.03; OR 0.36, 95% CI 0.20-0.63, P=0.0004). As for the ICU LOS, we did not find any advantage of HFNC over COT or NIPPV.ConclusionsWhen used before MV, HFNC can improve the prognosis of patients compared both with the COT and NIPPV.

Original publication




Journal article


The American journal of emergency medicine

Publication Date





226 - 233


Department of Respiratory and Critical Care, West China School of Medicine and West China Hospital, Sichuan University, 610041, China.


Humans, Respiration, Artificial, Critical Care, Oxygen Inhalation Therapy, Positive-Pressure Respiration, Intubation, Intratracheal, Clinical Trials as Topic, Cannula