Prematurely born infants' response to resuscitation via an endotracheal tube or a face mask

Vadivelam Murthy, Walton D'Costa, Raajul Shah, Grenville F Fox, Morag E Campbell, Anthony D Milner, Anne Greenough
Early Human Development 2015, 91 (3): 235-8

BACKGROUND: Prematurely born infants may be resuscitated in the labour suite via a face mask or an endotracheal tube.

AIMS: To assess prematurely born infants' initial responses to resuscitation delivered via an endotracheal tube or a face mask, to determine if the first five inflations via an endotracheal tube produced expired tidal volumes greater than 4.4ml/kg (twice the anatomical dead space) and whether the outcome of initial resuscitation via an endotracheal tube or via a face mask differed according to the first active inflation (the infant's inspiratory effort coinciding with an inflation).

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective observational study.

SUBJECTS: Thirty-five infants (median gestational age 25, range 23-27weeks) requiring resuscitation via an endotracheal tube (n=20) or a face mask (n=15) were studied.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Inflation pressures, inflation times, expiratory tidal volumes, end tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2) and leak were recorded.

RESULTS: Before the first active inflation, only 27% of infants receiving resuscitation via an endotracheal tube had expiratory volumes greater than 4.4ml/kg. During, both endotracheal and face mask initial resuscitations, during the first active inflation the expired tidal volumes (7.7ml/kg, 5.2ml/kg) and ETCO2 levels (4.8kPa, 3.2kPa) were significantly higher than during the inflations before the first active inflation (2.8ml/kg, 1.6ml/kg; 0.36kPa, 0.2kPa respectively) (all p<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Initial resuscitation via an endotracheal tube using currently recommended pressures, rarely produced adequate tidal volumes. Resuscitation via an endotracheal tube or a face mask was most effective when the infant's inspiratory effort coincided with an inflation.

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