[The use of the continuous positive airway pressure for early stabilization in very low birthweight infants]

M López Maestro, C R Pallás Alonso, Maria C Muñoz Labián, Maria C Barrio Andrés, C Medina López, J de la Cruz Bértolo
Anales de Pediatría: Publicación Oficial de la Asociación Española de Pediatría (A.E.P.) 2006, 64 (5): 422-7

BACKGROUND: The introduction of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in neonatal units provides a new strategy in the management of infants weighing less than 1500 g, and especially in those weighing less than 1000 g, allowing a reduction in the use of surfactant without negatively affecting prognosis.

OBJECTIVES: To compare the rate of surfactant use in very low birthweight (VLBW) infants before and after the introduction of CPAP for early stabilization. To compare the frequency of pneumothorax, bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), mortality, severe brain injury, length of hospital stay, and days of intubation in both groups of VLBW infants.

METHODS: We performed a before-after study comparing VLBW infants born in a tertiary care hospital in two periods: group 1 consisted of 78 VLBW infants born in 2001 and group 2 consisted of 80 VLBW infants born from June 2003 to February 2004. Group 1 received conventional management (intubation and administration of surfactant in the delivery room). In group 2, CPAP was introduced for early stabilization.

RESULTS: The mean weight was 1059+/-309 g in group 1 and 1127+/-295 g in group 2 (p = 0.15). The mean gestational age was 29 +/- 3.3 weeks in group 1 and 29 +/- 2.8 weeks in group 2 (p = 1). Fifty-four percent of the neonates in group 1 were intubated in the delivery room versus 31 % of those in group 2 (p = 0.004). Surfactant was used in 68 % of neonates in group 1 versus 49 % of those in group 2 (RR = 1.34 [1.06-1.83]). The mean number of days of intubation was 4 +/- 11 in group 1 versus 2.7 6 5.8 in group 2 (p 5 0.15). Bronchopulmonary dysplasia at a corrected age of 36 weeks occurred in 19 % of neonates in group 1 and in 14.5 % of those in group 2 (RR = 1.34 [0.63-2.84]). The mean number of days on oxygen was 34 6 47 and 21 6 25 respectively (p = 0.04). Necrotizing enterocolitis occurred in 3.8 % of neonates in group 1 and in 8.7 % of those in group 2 (RR= 0.43 [0.11-1.63]). The mortality rate and frequency of pneumothorax were similar in both groups. In the subgroup of VLWB infants with a gestation age of < 28 weeks, no differences were found between the two periods.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of CPAP for early stabilization of VLBW infants is not associated with an increase in neonatal morbidity. This therapy allows the use of surfactant to be decreased, and even allows the number of days on oxygen to be reduced, without adverse effects. However, data on long-term follow-up are not yet available.

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