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Neurally adjusted ventilatory assist versus pressure support ventilation: A randomized controlled feasibility trial performed in patients at risk of prolonged mechanical ventilation

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Daniel J. Hadfield, Louise Rose, Fiona Reid, Victoria Cornelius, Nicholas Hart, Clare Finney, Bethany Penhaligon, Jasmine Molai, Clair Harris, Sian Saha, Harriet Noble, Emma Clarey, Leah Thompson, John Smith, Lucy Johnson, Phillip A. Hopkins, Gerrard F. Rafferty

Original languageEnglish
Article number220
Issue number1
Published14 May 2020

King's Authors


Background: The clinical effectiveness of neurally adjusted ventilatory assist (NAVA) has yet to be demonstrated, and preliminary studies are required. The study aim was to assess the feasibility of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of NAVA versus pressure support ventilation (PSV) in critically ill adults at risk of prolonged mechanical ventilation (MV). Methods: An open-label, parallel, feasibility RCT (n = 78) in four ICUs of one university-affiliated hospital. The primary outcome was mode adherence (percentage of time adherent to assigned mode), and protocol compliance (binary - ≥ 65% mode adherence). Secondary exploratory outcomes included ventilator-free days (VFDs), sedation, and mortality. Results: In the 72 participants who commenced weaning, median (95% CI) mode adherence was 83.1% (64.0-97.1%) and 100% (100-100%), and protocol compliance was 66.7% (50.3-80.0%) and 100% (89.0-100.0%) in the NAVA and PSV groups respectively. Secondary outcomes indicated more VFDs to D28 (median difference 3.0 days, 95% CI 0.0-11.0; p = 0.04) and fewer in-hospital deaths (relative risk 0.5, 95% CI 0.2-0.9; p = 0.032) for NAVA. Although overall sedation was similar, Richmond Agitation and Sedation Scale (RASS) scores were closer to zero in NAVA compared to PSV (p = 0.020). No significant differences were observed in duration of MV, ICU or hospital stay, or ICU, D28, and D90 mortality. Conclusions: This feasibility trial demonstrated good adherence to assigned ventilation mode and the ability to meet a priori protocol compliance criteria. Exploratory outcomes suggest some clinical benefit for NAVA compared to PSV. Clinical effectiveness trials of NAVA are potentially feasible and warranted. Trial registration:, NCT01826890. Registered 9 April 2013.

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