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Clinical trial

Palliative Use of High-flow Oxygen Nasal Cannula in End-of-life Lung Disease Patients

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Last updated:28th Sep 2014

The prevalence of severe dyspnoea among terminally ill patients has been reported as 70% and 90% for lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients, respectively.

Current management to dyspnoea includes opioids, psychotropic drugs, inhaled frusemide, Heliox 28 and oxygen.

Conventional oxygen supplementation is often used in these patients, but it may be inadequate, especially if they require high flows (from 30L/min to 120L/min in acute respiratory failure).

High-flow oxygen nasal cannula (HFONC) is a new technological device in high-flow oxygen system that consists of an air-oxygen blender (allowing from 21% to 100% FiO2) which generates the gas flow rate up to 55 L/min and a heated humidification system. This technology may have an important role in reducing respiratory distress in do-not-intubate patients.

Some HFONC's beneficial effects are the washout of the nasopharyngeal dead space reducing rebreathing of CO2 and improvement oxygenation through greater alveolar oxygen concentration; a better matching between patient's inspiratory demand and oxygen flow; generation of a certain level of positive pressure (PEEP) contributing to the pulmonary distending pressure and recruitment; improvement of lung and airway mucociliary clearance due to the heated and humidified oxygen; and patient's comfort because of the nasal interface allowing feeding and speech.

The investigators hypothesize that patients supported with HFONC need less opioids to decrease dyspnoea.

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Study start date 2014-09-28

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