What Are the Types of Noninvasive Ventilation? COVID-19

Medically Reviewed on 11/15/2022

What is noninvasive ventilation?

Invasive ventilation: The type of ventilation where oxygen is delivered to your lungs through a tube inserted into your nose or throat (endotracheal tube or tracheostomy tube) that goes into your windpipe.

A ventilator is a machine that helps in delivering oxygen to your lungs. It is used to assist with breathing when you cannot breathe on your own. The ventilator is usually connected to your nose through a pipe-like structure, and this process of assisted breathing is known as mechanical ventilation.

There are two types of ventilation:

  • Invasive ventilation: The type of ventilation where oxygen is delivered to your lungs through a tube inserted into your nose or throat (endotracheal tube or tracheostomy tube) that goes into your windpipe.
  • Noninvasive ventilation: Noninvasive ventilation (NIV) is the administration of ventilatory support without using an invasive artificial airway (endotracheal tube or tracheostomy tube)

When do you need noninvasive ventilation?

You may require noninvasive ventilation when you can’t breathe properly for the following conditions:

What are the advantages of noninvasive ventilation?

The use of noninvasive ventilation offers the following advantages:

  • Reduces the work pressure on longs 
  • Eliminates the need for endotracheal intubation or a tracheotomy, avoiding their complications
  • Reduces the chances of infections
  • Improves the chances of survival 
  • Reduces your hospital stay

You can resume activities like talking, eating, and taking medications. It does not require hospital supervision.

What are the types of noninvasive ventilation?

There are two types of noninvasive ventilation:

  • Positive-pressure ventilation:
    • It pushes the air into the lungs. 
    • Two types of positive pressure ventilation are used in sleep apnea—Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and Bilevel Positive Pressure(BiPAP). 
    • Your doctor will decide which one is suitable for you.
  • Negative-pressure ventilation: 
    • It sucks the air into the lungs by expanding and contracting the chest through a device that wraps the chest. 
    • This method of ventilation is hardly used nowadays.


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How does noninvasive ventilation work?

The most commonly used noninvasive ventilation is a positive-pressure type. It helps in delivering oxygen to your lungs through a mask fitted tightly around your face or head in the following way:

  • The ventilator pushes the oxygen from the oxygen cylinder into the patient’s airway via your face/head mask. 
  • The settings of the ventilator are adjusted in such a way that they regularly blow air into the patient’s airway and stop. 
  • This cycle gets repeated which helps the patient in inhaling oxygen in the body and expelling carbon dioxide from the body.

How is noninvasive ventilation set up?

Your doctor might give you sedatives to help you drowsy or medicines to lower your anxiety.

  • You will be positioned at a 30-90-degree angle upright in your bed.
  • A face mask or head mask will be fitted on your entire face or head tightly.
  • A strap will be connected to your face mask to maintain its position.
  • The oxygen cylinder will be attached to the ventilator.
  • Your face mask will be connected to the ventilator, which will be adjusted on an adequate pressure of oxygen by your doctor.

What are the complications of noninvasive ventilation?

Most complications are mild and happen with long-term use. These include:

  • Ulcers at the attachment of the face mask
  • Eye irritation and pain
  • Congestion of the nasal sinuses

Other complications include:

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Medically Reviewed on 11/15/2022

Noninvasive ventilation. Available at: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/304235-overview#:~:text=Noninvasive%20ventilation%20(NIV)%20refers%20to,endotracheal%20tube%20or%20tracheostomy%20tube).

Bello G, De Pascale G, Antonelli M. Noninvasive Ventilation. Clin Chest Med. 2016;37(4):711-721. doi:10.1016/j.ccm.2016.07.011. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27842751/

Nava S, Hill N. Non-invasive ventilation in acute respiratory failure. Lancet 2009; 374(9685): 250-9. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19616722/

What Are the Different Types of Mechanical Ventilation? Available at: https://www.medicinenet.com/different_types_of_mechanical_ventilation/article.htm