NIPPV is the delivery of positive pressure ventilation via a tight-fitting mask that covers the nose or both the nose and mouth. Helmets that deliver NIPPV are being studied as an alternative for patients who cannot tolerate the standard tight-fitting face masks. Because of its use in spontaneously breathing patients, it is primarily applied as a form of PSV or to deliver end-expiratory pressure, although volume control can be used.
NIPPV can be given as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP). In CPAP, constant pressure is maintained throughout the respiratory cycle with no additional inspiratory support. With BiPAP, the physician sets both the expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) and the inspiratory positive airway pressure (IPAP), with respirations triggered by the patient. Because the airway is unprotected, aspiration is possible, so patients must have adequate mentation and airway protective reflexes and no imminent indication for surgery or transport off the floor for prolonged procedures. NIPPV should be avoided in patients who are hemodynamically unstable and in those with evidence of impaired gastric emptying, as occurs with ileus, bowel obstruction, or pregnancy. In such circumstances, swallowing large quantities of air may result in vomiting and life-threatening aspiration. Indications for conversion to endotracheal intubation and conventional mechanical ventilation include the development of shock or frequent arrhythmias, myocardial ischemia, and transport to a cardiac catheterization laboratory or surgical suite where control of the airway and full ventilatory support are desired. Obtunded patients and patients with copious secretions are not good candidates. Also, IPAP must be set below esophageal opening pressure (20 cm H2O) to avoid gastric insufflation.
NIPPV can be used in the outpatient setting. For example, CPAP is often used for patients with obstructive sleep apnea (see Obstructive Sleep Apnea), whereas BiPAP can be used for those with concomitant obesity-hypoventilation syndrome or for chronic ventilation in patients with neuromuscular or chest wall diseases.