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Early CPAP prevents evolution of acute lung injury in patients with hematologic malignancy

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Although chemotherapy and transplantation improve outcome of patients with hematological malignancy, complications of these therapies are responsible for a 20–50% mortality rate that increases when respiratory symptoms evolve into acute lung injury (ALI). The aim of this study is to determine the effectiveness of early continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) delivered in the ward to prevent occurrence of ALI requiring intensive care unit (ICU) admission for mechanical ventilation.


Patients with hematological malignancy presenting in the hematological ward with early changes in respiratory variables were randomized to receive oxygen (N = 20) or oxygen plus CPAP (N = 20). Primary outcome variables were need of mechanical ventilation requiring ICU admission, and intubation rate among those patients who required ICU admission.


At randomization, arterial-to-inspiratory O2 ratio in control and CPAP group was 282 ± 41 and 256 ± 52, respectively. Patients who received CPAP had less need of ICU admission for mechanical ventilation (4 versus 16 patients; P = 0.0002). CPAP reduced the relative risk for developing need of ventilatory support to 0.25 (95% confidence interval: 0.10–0.62). Among patients admitted to ICU, intubation rate was lower in the CPAP than in the control group (2 versus 14 patients; P = 0.0001). CPAP reduced the relative risk for intubation to 0.46 (95% confidence interval: 0.27–0.78).


This study suggests that early use of CPAP on the hematological ward in patients with early changes in respiratory variables prevents evolution to acute lung injury requiring mechanical ventilation and ICU admission.

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This article was supported by Regione Piemonte (CEP AN RAN 07) and Ministero dell’Università (PRIN RANI 07)

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Correspondence to V. Marco Ranieri.

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Squadrone, V., Massaia, M., Bruno, B. et al. Early CPAP prevents evolution of acute lung injury in patients with hematologic malignancy. Intensive Care Med 36, 1666–1674 (2010).

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