Topic/Clinical Relevance

The use of noninvasive respiratory support, including noninvasive ventilation and high-flow nasal cannula therapy, has increased over the years. Failure of noninvasive respiratory support, defined as the need for invasive mechanical ventilation, increases the mortality rate.


To familiarize critical care nurses with available risk stratification assessments and identify common concepts and limitations.

Content Covered

Few risk stratification assessments are available to identify patients at risk of failure of noninvasive respiratory support. Although many studies have analyzed risk, substantial variation in study design, definitions, terminology, and outcomes have led to a wide range of findings, making clinical application difficult. Further study is needed to broaden known assessments to general patient populations, determine diagnostic accuracy during critical periods, and analyze noninvasive ventilation and high-flow nasal cannula therapy. Risk stratification could allow for better implementation of preventive strategies and patient education.


Future research opportunities include improving study design for risk stratification and implementing preventive strategies for patients requiring noninvasive respiratory support. Clinically, risk stratification can provide an opportunity to share knowledge and facilitate conversations with patients and families.

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