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Long-term ventilation for children with chronic lung disease of infancy

Christopher D Baker
Current Opinion in Pediatrics 2019 March 18

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Modern medical advances have resulted in an increased survival after extremely preterm birth. However, some infants will develop severe bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and fail to wean from invasive or noninvasive positive pressure support. It remains unclear which infants will benefit from tracheostomy placement for chronic ventilation. Once the decision to pursue chronic ventilation has been made, questions remain with respect to the timing of tracheotomy surgery, optimal strategies for mechanical ventilation, and multidisciplinary care in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. The appropriate time for weaning mechanical ventilation and tracheostomy decannulation has similarly not been determined.

RECENT FINDINGS: Although there remains a paucity of randomized controlled trials involving infants with severe BPD, a growing body of evidence suggests that chronic ventilation via tracheostomy is beneficial to support the growth and development of severely affected preterm children. However, delivering such care is not without risk. Chronic ventilation via tracheostomy requires complex care coordination and significant resource utilization.

SUMMARY: When chronic respiratory insufficiency limits a preterm infant's ability to grow and develop, chronic invasive ventilation may facilitate neurodevelopmental progress and may lead to an improved long-term outcome.


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