During recent years the application of non invasive ventilation (NIV) has emerged as a central component of respiratory failure management, acute and chronic. Although the use of NIV in acute respiratory failure was initially meant to be given in critical care units, it is nowadays natural to provide it in other settings as well, provided that there are the necessary resources and expertise. NIV represents a viable alternative to endotracheal ventilation and despite most data refer to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; its indications are continuously expanding to cover more clinical scenarios. Randomized controlled studies are needed in order to provide sound evidence regarding optimal patient-ventilator interface, NIV duration and ventilation parameters in thoracic surgery patients.

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