Acute Crit Care

. 2022 Feb;37(1):71-83.
doi: 10.4266/acc.2021.01326. Epub 2022 Feb 22.
Comparison of high-flow nasal oxygen therapy and noninvasive ventilation in COVID-19 patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Glenardi Glenardi 1 , Febie Chriestya 2 , Bambang J Oetoro 3 , Ghea Mangkuliguna 1 , Natalia Natalia 1



Background: Acute respiratory failure (ARF) is a major adverse event commonly encountered in severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Although noninvasive mechanical ventilation (NIV) has long been used in the management of ARF, it has several adverse events which may cause patient discomfort and lead to treatment complication. Recently, high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) has the potential to be an alternative for NIV in adults with ARF, including COVID-19 patients. The objective was to investigate the efficacy of HFNC compared to NIV in COVID-19 patients.
Methods: This meta-analysis was reported following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) criteria. Literature search was carried out in electronic databases for relevant articles published prior to June 2021. The protocol used in this study has been registered in International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (CRD42020225186).
Results: Although the success rate of NIV is higher compared to HFNC (odds ratio [OR], 0.39; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.16-0.97; P=0.04), this study showed that the mortality in the NIV group is also significantly higher compared to HFNC group (OR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.39-0.63; P<0.001). Moreover, this study also demonstrated that there was no significant difference in intubation rates between the two groups (OR, 1.35; 95% CI, 0.86-2.11; P=0.19).
Conclusions: Patients treated with HFNC showed better outcomes compared to NIV for ARF due to COVID-19. Therefore, HFNC should be considered prior to NIV in COVID-19-associated ARF. However, further studies with larger sample sizes are still needed to better elucidate the benefit of HFNC in COVID-19 patients.

Keywords: COVID-19; high-flow nasal cannula; meta-analysis; noninvasive ventilation; systematic review.