Table 2

Evidence-based indications for humidified high-flow therapy

Clinical indicationEffects
Acute hypoxaemic respiratory failure [8, 25]
  • Similar rates of intubation compared with NIV and facemask oxygen

  • Reduced risk of intubation in patients with moderate or severe hypoxaemia (PaO2:FIO2 ≤200)

  • Reduced ICU and 90-day mortality

  • Improved breathlessness following treatment initiation

Prevention of post-extubation respiratory failure [9, 26]
  • Low-risk patients: HFT superior to conventional oxygen

  • High-risk patients: HFT noninferior to NIV

Breaks from positive airway pressure [27]
  • Permits oral intake (medication, nutrition) and communication

  • More comfortable than conventional nasal cannula and NIV

Oxygenation during airway procedures [28, 29]
  • Pre-oxygenation prior to and during endotracheal intubation

  • Improves oxygenation during bronchoscopy compared with conventional nasal cannula

PaO2: arterial oxygen tension; ICU: intensive care unit.