Double-blind 1-year follow-up of 1540 infants with respiratory distress syndrome randomized to rescue treatment with two doses of synthetic surfactant or air in four clinical trials. American and Canadian Exosurf Neonatal Study Groups

S E Courtney, W Long, D McMillan, D Walter, T Thompson, R Sauve, B Conway, H Bard
Journal of Pediatrics 1995, 126 (5): S43-52
Synthetic surfactant has been shown to reduce neonatal and 1-year mortality and neonatal morbidity in infants with respiratory distress syndrome. However, less is known about the effects of synthetic surfactant on developmental outcome and long-term morbidity. Four multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled trials of synthetic surfactant administered as rescue therapy were conducted in the United States and Canada, with a total enrollment of 2224 patients. Double-blind developmental evaluations of survivors were conducted at 1 year of age (adjusted for prematurity) in all four trials. Of the 1802 patients enrolled in the placebo-controlled rescue trials who survived to 1 year, 1540 (85%) completed the 1-year follow-up evaluation. Height, weight, and head circumference measurements were not different in the treatment and control groups. Mean and median Bayley Scores of Infant Development for both the Mental Development Index and the Psychomotor Development Index were also equivalent. The incidence of impairments was not different in the two groups (mild to moderate impairment, 12% (92 of 745) for the air placebo group vs 11% (86 of 771) for the synthetic surfactant group; severe impairment, 15% (114 of 745) for the air placebo group vs 13% (102 of 771) for the synthetic surfactant group). No differences in rates of retinopathy of prematurity or hearing impairment were found in the treatment groups. The need for surgery after day 28 of life (relative risk, 0.779; 95% confidence interval, 0.665, 0.927) and the need for respiratory support at 1 year (relative risk, 0.525; 95% confidence intervals, 0.303, 0.911) were both reduced in the synthetic surfactant group. These results indicate that developmental outcome at 1 year of age is at least as good among infants with respiratory distress syndrome who received rescue therapy with synthetic surfactant as it is in infants who received air placebo; the results also indicate that the incidence of long-term morbidity is reduced.

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