Article Text

Download PDFPDF
The pulmonary physician in critical care • 11: Critical care management of respiratory failure resulting from COPD
  1. A C Davidson
  1. Correspondence to
    Dr A C Davidson, Departments of Critical Care and Respiratory Support Therapy (Lane Fox Unit), Guys & St Thomas’ Hospitals Trust, London SE1 7EH, UK;


Survival to hospital discharge of patients suffering exacerbations of COPD is better than other medical causes for ICU admission. Although non-invasive ventilation (NIV) may prevent progression to tracheal intubation, its failure in most cases should lead to a period of controlled mechanical ventilation aiming for early extubation, possibly supported by NIV and tracheostomy if this fails. A greater understanding of the physiological principles behind ventilatory support of patients with COPD should reduce patient-ventilator disharmony and avoid the excessive use of sedation. The risk of nosocomial infection increases with the length of time the patient remains in the ICU and commonly further prolongs the period of ventilator dependency. Weaning centres with an emphasis on general rehabilitation may offer the best support for such individuals.

  • critical care
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • respiratory failure

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.