UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Cardiology

Title: non-invasive ventilation in cardiogenic pulmonary edema

Keywords: non-invasive ventilation, CHF, congestive heart failure, pulmonary edema (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/10/2011 by Amal Mattu, MD (Updated: 7/22/2024)
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There has been some controversy regarding the actual clinical benefit of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) for patients with cardiogenic pulmonary edema in recent years. However a recent Cochrane review has confirmed the benefit of NIV for these patients. Early (ED) use of NIV is associated with a decrease in both intubation rates and mortality. The NNT to prevent one intubation is 8, and the NNT to prevent one hospital mortality is 13. To put this in perspective, the NNT for NIV to prevent death in patients with cardiogenic pulmonary edema is lower than the NNT for thrombolytics to prevent death in acute MI.

One key point to remember is that it MUST be used early! If you wait until your patient is decompensating, it is often too late. Start the NIV as soon as possible in these patients.


Seupaul RA. Should I  consider treating patients with acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema with noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation? Ann Emerg Med 2010;55:299-300.