Long-term Non-invasive Ventilation in Children: Impact on Survival and Transition to Adult Care

Chatwin M, Tan HL, Bush A, et al.
Citation: PLoS One. 2015 May 1;10(5):e0125839,



The number of children receiving domiciliary ventilatory support has grown over the last few decades driven largely by the introduction and widening applications of non-invasive ventilation. Ventilatory support may be used with the intention of increasing survival, or to facilitate discharge home and/or to palliate symptoms. However, the outcome of this intervention and the number of children transitioning to adult care as a consequence of longer survival is not yet clear.


In this retrospective cohort study, we analysed the outcome in children (<17 years) started on home NIV at Royal Brompton Hospital over an 18 year period 1993-2011. The aim was to establish for different diagnostic groups: survival rate, likelihood of early death depending on diagnosis or discontinuation of ventilation, and the proportion transitioning to adult care.


496 children were commenced on home non invasive ventilation; follow-up data were available in 449 (91%). Fifty six per cent (n=254) had neuromuscular disease. Ventilation was started at a median age (IQR) 10 (3-15) years. Thirteen percent (n=59) were less than 1 year old. Forty percent (n=181) have transitioned to adult care. Twenty four percent (n=109) of patients have died, and nine percent (n=42) were able to discontinue ventilatory support.


Long term ventilation is associated with an increase in survival in a range of conditions leading to ventilatory failure in children, resulting in increasing numbers surviving to adulthood. This has significant implications for planning transition and adult carefacilities.

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