Diaphragm thickening fraction predicts noninvasive ventilation outcome: a preliminary physiological study

Giovanna Mercurio, Sonia D'Arrigo, Rossana Moroni, Domenico Luca Grieco, Luca Salvatore Menga, Anna Romano, Maria Giuseppina Annetta, Maria Grazia Bocci, Davide Eleuteri, Giuseppe Bello, Luca Montini, Mariano Alberto Pennisi, Giorgio Conti, Massimo Antonelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: A correlation between unsuccessful noninvasive ventilation (NIV) and poor outcome has been suggested in de-novo Acute Respiratory Failure (ARF) patients. Consequently, it is of paramount importance to identify accurate predictors of NIV outcome. The aim of our preliminary study is to evaluate the Diaphragmatic Thickening Fraction (DTF) and the respiratory rate/DTF ratio as predictors of NIV outcome in de-novo ARF patients. Methods: Over 36 months, we studied patients admitted to the emergency department with a diagnosis of de-novo ARF and requiring NIV treatment. DTF and respiratory rate/DTF ratio were measured by 2 trained operators at baseline, at 1, 4, 12, 24, 48, 72 and 96 h of NIV treatment and/or until NIV discontinuation or intubation. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was performed to evaluate the ability of DTF and respiratory rate/DTF ratio to distinguish between patients who were successfully weaned and those who failed. Results: Eighteen patients were included. We found overall good repeatability of DTF assessment, with Intra-class Correlation Coefficient (ICC) of 0.82 (95% confidence interval 0.72–0.88). The cut-off values of DTF for prediction of NIV failure were < 36.3% and < 37.1% for the operator 1 and 2 (p < 0.0001), respectively. The cut-off value of respiratory rate/DTF ratio for prediction of NIV failure was > 0.6 for both operators (p < 0.0001). Conclusion: DTF and respiratory rate/DTF ratio may both represent valid, feasible and noninvasive tools to predict NIV outcome in patients with de-novo ARF. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02976233, registered 26 November 2016.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
JournalCritical Care
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Acute respiratory failure
  • Diaphragm thickening fraction
  • Noninvasive ventilation
  • Rapid shallow breathing index
  • Ultrasound


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