Background: Optimal oxygen supply is the cornerstone of the management of critically ill patients after extubation, especially in patients at high risk for extubation failure. In recent years, high flow oxygen system devices have offered an appropriate alternative to standard oxygen therapy devices such as conventional face masks and nasal prongs.
Objectives: To assess the clinical effects of high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) compared with standard oxygen face masks in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients after extubation.
Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 67 consecutive ventilated critical care patients in the ICU over a period of 1 year. The patients were allocated to two treatment groups: HFNC (34 patients, group 1) and non-rebreathing oxygen face mask (NRB) (33 patients, group 2). Vital respiratory and hemodynamic parameters were assessed prior to extubation and 6 hours after extubation. The primary clinical outcomes measured were improvement in oxygenation, ventilation-free days, re-intubation, ICU length of stay, and mortality.
Results: The two groups demonstrated similar hemodynamic patterns before and after extubation. The respiratory rate was slightly elevated in both groups after extubation with no differences observed between groups. There were no statistically significant clinical differences in PaCO2. However, the use of HFNC resulted in improved PaO2/FiO2 post-extubation (P < 0.05). There were more ventilator-free days in the HFNC group (P < 0.05) and fewer patients required re-intubation (1 vs. 6). There were no differences in ICU length of stay or mortality.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated better oxygenation for patients treated with HFNC compared with NRB after extubation. HFNC may be more effective than standard oxygen supply devices for oxygenation in the post-extubation period.