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OBJECTIVE: In a cardiothoracic and vascular intensive care unit, to compare nasal high-flow (NHF) oxygen therapy and standard high-flow face mask (HFFM) oxygen therapy in patients with mild to moderate hypoxemic respiratory failure. METHODS: In a prospective randomized comparative study, 60 patients with mild to moderate hypoxemic respiratory failure were randomized to receive NHF or HFFM. We analyzed the success of allocated therapy, noninvasive ventilation rate, and oxygenation. RESULTS: Significantly more NHF patients succeeded with their allocated therapy (P = .006). The rate of noninvasive ventilation in the NHF group was 3/29 (10%), compared with 8/27 (30%) in the HFFM group (P = .10). The NHF patients also had significantly fewer desaturations (P = .009). CONCLUSIONS: NHF oxygen therapy may be more effective than HFFM in treating mild to moderate hypoxemic respiratory failure.