Fuller, GW, Keating, S, Goodacre, S, Herbert, E, Perkins, GD, Rosser, A, Gunson, I, Miller, J, Ward, M, Bradburn, M, Thokala, P, Harris, T, Marsh, MM, Scott, AJ and Cooper, C (2021) Prehospital continuous positive airway pressure for acute respiratory failure: the ACUTE feasibility RCT. Health Technology Assessment, 25 (7). 1 - 92. ISSN 1366-5278

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BACKGROUND: Acute respiratory failure is a life-threatening emergency. Standard prehospital management involves controlled oxygen therapy. Continuous positive airway pressure is a potentially beneficial alternative treatment; however, it is uncertain whether or not this treatment could improve outcomes in NHS ambulance services. OBJECTIVES: To assess the feasibility of a large-scale pragmatic trial and to update an existing economic model to determine cost-effectiveness and the value of further research. DESIGN: (1) An open-label, individual patient randomised controlled external pilot trial. (2) Cost-effectiveness and value-of-information analyses, updating an existing economic model. (3) Ancillary substudies, comprising an acute respiratory failure incidence study, an acute respiratory failure diagnostic agreement study, clinicians perceptions of a continuous positive airway pressure mixed-methods study and an investigation of allocation concealment. SETTING: Four West Midlands Ambulance Service hubs, recruiting between August 2017 and July 2018. PARTICIPANTS: Adults with respiratory distress and peripheral oxygen saturations below the British Thoracic Society's target levels were included. Patients with limited potential to benefit from, or with contraindications to, continuous positive airway pressure were excluded. INTERVENTIONS: Prehospital continuous positive airway pressure (O-Two system, O-Two Medical Technologies Inc., Brampton, ON, Canada) was compared with standard oxygen therapy, titrated to the British Thoracic Society's peripheral oxygen saturation targets. Interventions were provided in identical sealed boxes. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Feasibility objectives estimated the incidence of eligible patients, the proportion recruited and allocated to treatment appropriately, adherence to allocated treatment, and retention and data completeness. The primary clinical end point was 30-day mortality. RESULTS: Seventy-seven patients were enrolled (target 120 patients), including seven patients with a diagnosis for which continuous positive airway pressure could be ineffective or harmful. Continuous positive airway pressure was fully delivered to 74% of participants (target 75%). There were no major protocol violations/non-compliances. Full data were available for all key outcomes (target ≥ 90%). Thirty-day mortality was 27.3%. Of the 21 deceased participants, 14 (68%) either did not have a respiratory condition or had ceiling-of-treatment decision implemented that excluded hospital non-invasive ventilation and critical care. The base-case economic evaluation indicated that standard oxygen therapy was probably cost-effective (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio £5685 per quality-adjusted life-year), but there was considerable uncertainty (population expected value of perfect information of £16.5M). Expected value of partial perfect information analyses indicated that effectiveness of prehospital continuous positive airway pressure was the only important variable. The incidence rate of acute respiratory failure was 17.4 (95% confidence interval 16.3 to 18.5) per 100,000 persons per year. There was moderate agreement between the primary prehospital and final hospital diagnoses (Gwet's AC1 coefficient 0.56, 95% confidence interval 0.43 to 0.69). Lack of hospital awareness of the Ambulance continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP): Use, Treatment Effect and economics (ACUTE) trial, limited time to complete trial training and a desire to provide continuous positive airway pressure treatment were highlighted as key challenges by participating clinicians. LIMITATIONS: During week 10 of recruitment, the continuous positive airway pressure arm equipment boxes developed a 'rattle'. After repackaging and redistribution, no further concerns were noted. A total of 41.4% of ambulance service clinicians not participating in the ACUTE trial indicated a difference between the control and the intervention arm trial boxes (115/278); of these clinician 70.4% correctly identified box contents. CONCLUSIONS: Recruitment rate was below target and feasibility was not demonstrated. The economic evaluation results suggested that a definitive trial could represent value for money. However, limited compliance with continuous positive airway pressure and difficulty in identifying patients who could benefit from continuous positive airway pressure indicate that prehospital continuous positive airway pressure is unlikely to materially reduce mortality. FUTURE WORK: A definitive clinical effectiveness trial of continuous positive airway pressure in the NHS is not recommended. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN12048261. FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 25, No. 7. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this article and all relevant information related to it can be found online at; https://www.journalslibrary.nihr.ac.uk/hta/hta25070#/abstract
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC705 Diseases of the respiratory system
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2021 15:13
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2021 15:13
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/9194

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