Go to content

Home mechanical ventilation: a 12-year population-based retrospective cohort study


Background — Increasing numbers of individuals are being initiated on home mechanical ventilation, including noninvasive (bi-level) and invasive mechanical ventilation delivered via tracheostomy due to chronic respiratory failure to enable symptom management and promote quality of life. Given the high care needs of these individuals, a better understanding of the indications for home mechanical ventilation, and health-care utilization is needed.

Methods — We performed a retrospective cohort study using provincial health administrative data from Ontario, Canada (population ∼13,000,000). Home mechanical ventilation users were characterized using health administrative data to determine the indications for home mechanical ventilation, the need for acute care at the time of ventilation approval, and their health service use and mortality rates following approval.

Results — The annual incidence of home mechanical ventilation approval rose from 1.8/100,000 in 2000 to 5.0/100,000 in 2012, or an annual increase of approximately 0.3/100,000 persons/y. The leading indications were neuromuscular disease, thoracic restriction, and COPD. The indication for the remainder could not be determined due to limitations of the administrative databases. Of the 4,670 individuals, 23.0% commenced home mechanical ventilation following an acute care hospitalization. Among individuals who survived at least 1y, fewer required hospitalization in the year that followed home mechanical ventilation approval (29.9% vs 39.8%) as compared with the year prior.

Conclusions — Utilization of home mechanical ventilation is increasing in Ontario, Canada, and further study is needed to clarify the factors contributing to this and to further optimize utilization of health-care resources.



Povitz M, Rose L, Shariff SZ, Leonard S, Welk B, Jenkyn KB, Leasa DJ, Gershon AS. Respir Care. 2018; 63(4):380-7. Epub 2017 Dec 5.