BACKGROUND Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) was one of the first-line ventilation supports for hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Successful NIV may avoid need for intubation. However, the influence NIV failure had on patients' outcome and its risk factors were hardly known. METHODS In this retrospective observational study, we reported risk factors and incidence of NIV
failure in HSCT patients who were admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with a diagnosis of ARDS and supported with mechanical ventilation, in a 5-year period. Patient outcomes, such as ventilator-free days, ICU-free days, and ICU mortality were also reported. RESULTS Of all the 94 patients included, 70 patients were initially supported with NIV. NIV failure occurred in 44 (63%) patients. Male sex, elevated serum galactomannan (GM) test, (1-3)-beta-D-glucan (BG) assay, or elevated serum creatinine level were risk factors for NIV failure. When compared with the NIV success group, failure of NIV was associated with much fewer ICU-free days (22 versus 0, p < 0.001, Cohen's d = 0.62) and higher ICU mortality (9.5% versus 75.5%, p < 0.001, Pearson's r = 0.75). There was no difference in ICU-free days, ventilator-free days and ICU mortality between NIV failure and initial invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) groups. Patients who failed in NIV support had a higher ICU mortality (75.5%) than those who succeeded (9.5%). CONCLUSION In a small cohort of HSCT patients with mainly moderate severity of ARDS, male patients with elevated serum GM/BG test or serum creatinine level had a higher risk of NIV failure. Both NIV failure and initial IMV groups were characterized by high mortality rate and extremely low ICU-free days and ventilator-free days; failure of NIV support may further aggravate patient prognosis. The reviews of this paper are available via the supplemental material section.