Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) is an evidence based management of acidotic, hypercapnic exacerbations of COPD. Previous national and international audits of clinical practice have shown variation against guideline standards with significant delays in initiating NIV. We aimed to map the clinical pathway to better understand delays and reduce the door-to-NIV time to less than 3 hours for all patients with acidotic, hypercapnic exacerbations of COPD requiring this intervention, by mandating the use of a guideline based educational management proforma.The proforma was introduced at 7 acute hospitals in North London and Essex and initiated at admission of the patient. It was used to record the clinical pathway and patient outcomes until the point of discharge or death. Data for 138 patients were collected. 48% of patients commenced NIV within 3 hours with no reduction in door-to-mask time during the study period. Delays in starting NIV were due to: time taken for review by the medical team (101 minutes) and time taken for NIV to be started once a decision had been made (49 minutes). There were significant differences in door-to-NIV decision and mask times between differing respiratory on-call systems, p < 0.05). The introduction of the proforma had no effect on door-to-mask times over the study period. Main reasons for delay were related to timely access to medical staff and to NIV equipment; however, a marked variation in practice within these hospitals was been noted, with a 9-5 respiratory on-call system associated with shorter NIV initiation times.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





645 - 651


chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, exacerbation, hypercapnic respiratory failure, non-invasive ventilation, Acidosis, Respiratory, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Blood Gas Analysis, Critical Pathways, Decision Making, Disease Progression, England, Female, Hospitals, Humans, Hypercapnia, Male, Medical Audit, Middle Aged, Noninvasive Ventilation, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Prospective Studies, Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive, Quality Improvement, Time-to-Treatment, Treatment Outcome