Background: Noninvasive ventilation may relieve dyspnea in advanced diseases, but noninvasive ventilation through mouthpiece has not been tested in palliative care.
Aim: To assess the feasibility of mouthpiece ventilation in relieving dyspnea among patients with advanced disease.
Design: In this prospective single-arm pilot study, the change in dyspnea by mouthpiece ventilation was measured with numeric rating scale (0–10) and 100-mm visual analogue scale. Overall, benefit and adverse events of the therapy were also assessed.
Setting/participants: Twenty-two patients with an advanced disease and dyspnea from the Tampere University Hospital or Pirkanmaa Hospice were treated with mouthpiece ventilation. The patients used mouthpiece ventilation as long as they preferred, but for a minimum of 5 min.
Results: After the treatment period lasting a median of 13.5 min, mean decrease in dyspnea was -1.1 (95 % confidence interval = -2.2 to -0.1, p = 0.034) on numeric rating scale and -11.8 mm (95 % confidence interval = -19.9 to -3.7, p = 0.006) on visual analogue scale. Nonetheless, there was a high variability in this effect between individual patients. About half of the patients found mouthpiece ventilation beneficial. No serious adverse events occurred, but dry mouth was the most common adverse event. Anxiety did not increase with mouthpiece ventilation.
Conclusion: Mouthpiece ventilation is feasible and may relieve dyspnea in some patients with an advanced disease. Further studies are needed, and these might concentrate on stable patients in early palliative care. Before initiation, this study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov (study no. NCT03012737).