Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) for COPD. Can it help?
Role of NIV in COPD

The role of non-invasive ventilation (NIV) in treating COPD

When you breathe in, your lungs absorb oxygen from the air. When you breathe out, your lungs release carbon dioxide (a waste gas).

With chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you may have trouble breathing properly. Your lungs may not absorb enough oxygen (O2), and they may have trouble getting rid of the waste gas carbon dioxide (CO2).

The most frequently used type of ventilation in hospital and at home is non-invasive ventilation (NIV).

If you were ever admitted to the hospital for a COPD-related incident, your medical team may have administered oxygen and/or non-invasive ventilation with or without oxygen to treat your acute exacerbation and help your lungs exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide more efficiently.

Your doctor may also decide that you would benefit from using oxygen and/or NIV at home if you have breathlessness, low levels of oxygen or high levels of carbon dioxide in your blood.

With NIV, you wear a mask attached to an air tube to a non-invasive ventilator. You may be prescribed NIV for daily use as well as during sleep.

How NIV works

Benefits of NIV

NIV has a number of benefits for certain COPD patients.

In the hospital, it can help you:

  • Speed recovery1
  • Reduce complications1
  • Reduce costs1
  • Go home sooner1
  • Avoid needing intubation2

At home, it can help you:

  • Improve mood3
  • Improve quality of life4
  • Reduce the likelihood of going back to hospital5

Your doctor can advise whether home NIV is suitable for you.

Learn more about ResMed’s NIV solutions.


  1. Ram FS et al. Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation for treatment of respiratory failure due to exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004;1:CD004104.
  2. Lightowler JV et al. Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation to treat respiratory failure resulting from exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ 2003;326:185.
  3. Dinges DF et al. Cumulative sleepiness, mood disturbance, and psychomotor vigilance performance decrements during a week of sleep restricted to 4–5 hours per night. Sleep 1997;20(4):267–77.
  4. Köhnlein T et al. Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation for the treatment of severe stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A prospective, multicentre, randomised, controlled clinical trial. Lancet Respir Med 2014;2:698–705.
  5. Galli JA et al. Home non-invasive ventilation use following acute hypercapnic respiratory failure in COPD. Respir Med 2014;108(5):722–8.