Introduction: The application of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is one of the most important therapeutic interventions used in patients with acute respiratory failure (ARF) secondary to acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema (ACPE). Thanks to its positive effects on both hemodynamics and ventilation, CPAP improves clinical and blood-gas parameters. Compared with standard oxygen therapy, use of CPAP is associated with decreased mortality and reduced need for intubation in these patients.
Aim of the study: This review examines the principles of CPAP, techniques and equipment used to deliver it, and clinical applications. Special emphasis is placed on CPAP delivered with the Boussignac device.
Discussion and conclusions: In emergency departments, this simple, lightweight, disposable device has proved to be well tolerated and similar to Venturi-like flow generators in terms of effectiveness. These findings suggest that Boussignac CPAP might be useful for managing ARF in non-critical care areas where other more complicated CPAP equipment (Venturi-like flow generators and ventilators) are not available (for example, in general medical wards).
Acute respiratory failure; CPAP; Medical ward.