• Understanding the principles of non-invasive positive pressure ventilation

      Roberts, Alexandra (2021-07)
      Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) provides respiratory support to patients without the need for invasive intubation. Although it has been used for several years in critical care, NPPV has come to prominence as a management option for certain patients with respiratory complications of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This has led to increased care provision by nurses with little or no experience and expertise in critical care and NPPV. This article provides an overview of the principles of NPPV and its use in type 1 and type 2 respiratory failure. It explains the pathophysiology of several conditions that often lead to respiratory failure and how NPPV can mitigate respiratory failure and improve gas exchange. An individualised assessment of the patient’s suitability for NPPV and an evaluation of the effectiveness of the therapy are crucial to ensure its safe and effective use. Nurses also have an important role in providing explanations and support to patients.