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AIMS: The study aim was to compare the effects of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) on clinical outcomes and plasma neurohormonal concentrations in patients with acute pulmonary oedema. METHODS AND RESULTS: In addition to standard therapy, 58 consecutive patients were randomized to receive 60% inhaled oxygen with or without CPAP at 7.5 cmH(2)O pressure. Clinical variables, symptoms and oxygenation were monitored and plasma epinephrine, norepinephrine and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) concentrations estimated at 0, 1, 6 and 24 h. CPAP was associated with less breathlessness at 1 h (P<0.001), no treatment failures and more rapid resolution in respiratory rate (P<0.001), heart rate (P<0.001) and acidosis (P<0.005). Length of hospital stay was similar but there was a trend for a reduction in overall hospital mortality in the CPAP group (0.10>P>0.05). Plasma BNP concentrations rose progressively (P<0.001) before falling below admission concentrations at 24 h. Plasma neurohumoral concentrations were unaffected by CPAP treatment but were elevated in patients who died or had acute myocardial infarction. CONCLUSION: CPAP produces a more rapid clinical and symptomatic improvement in patients with acute pulmonary oedema, particularly within the first hour. CPAP is a useful adjunctive treatment in the early management of acute heart failure.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur heart j

Publication Date





1379 - 1386


Acute Disease, Aged, Analysis of Variance, Female, Humans, Male, Natriuretic Peptide, Brain, Oxygen Inhalation Therapy, Positive-Pressure Respiration, Pulmonary Edema, Treatment Outcome