Multicenter controlled clinical trial of high-frequency jet ventilation in preterm infants with uncomplicated respiratory distress syndrome

M Keszler, H D Modanlou, D S Brudno, F I Clark, R S Cohen, R M Ryan, M K Kaneta, J M Davis
Pediatrics 1997, 100 (4): 593-9

OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that high-frequency jet ventilation (HFJV) will reduce the incidence and/or severity of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and acute airleak in premature infants who, despite surfactant administration, require mechanical ventilation for respiratory distress syndrome.

DESIGN: Multicenter, randomized, controlled clinical trial of HFJV and conventional ventilation (CV). Patients were to remain on assigned therapy for 14 days or until extubation, whichever came first. Crossover from CV to HFJV was allowed if bilateral pulmonary interstitial emphysema or bronchopleural fistula developed. Patients could cross over to the other ventilatory mode if failure criteria were met. The optimal lung volume strategy was mandated for HFJV by protocol to provide alveolar recruitment and optimize lung volume and ventilation/perfusion matching, while minimizing pressure amplitude and O2 requirements. CV management was not controlled by protocol.

SETTING: Eight tertiary neonatal intensive care units.

PATIENTS: Preterm infants with birth weights between 700 and 1500 g and gestational age <36 weeks who required mechanical ventilation with FIO2 >0.30 at 2 to 12 hours after surfactant administration, received surfactant by 8 hours of age, were <20 hours old, and had been ventilated for <12 hours. Outcome Measures. Primary outcome variables were BPD at 28 days and 36 weeks of postconceptional age. Secondary outcome variables were survival, gas exchange, airway pressures, airleak, intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), and other nonpulmonary complications.

RESULTS: A total of 130 patients were included in the final analysis; 65 were randomized to HFJV and 65 to CV. The groups were of comparable birth weight, gestational age, severity of illness, postnatal age, and other demographics. The incidence of BPD at 36 weeks of postconceptional age was significantly lower in babies randomized to HFJV compared with CV (20.0% vs 40.4%). The need for home oxygen was also significantly lower in infants receiving HFJV compared with CV (5.5% vs 23.1%). Survival, incidence of BPD at 28 days, retinopathy of prematurity, airleak, pulmonary hemorrhage, grade I-II IVH, and other complications were similar. In retrospect, it was noted that the traditional HFJV strategy emphasizing low airway pressures (HF-LO) rather than the prescribed optimal volume strategy (HF-OPT) was used in 29/65 HFJV infants. This presented a unique opportunity to examine the effects of different HFJV strategies on gas exchange, airway pressures, and outcomes. HF-OPT was defined as increase in positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) by >/=1 cm H2O from pre-HFJV baseline and/or use of PEEP of >/=7 cm H2O. Severe neuroimaging abnormalities (PVL and/or grade III-IV IVH) were not different between the CV and HFJV infants. However, there was a significantly lower incidence of severe IVH/PVL in HFJV infants treated with HF-OPT compared with CV and HF-LO. Oxygenation was similar between CV and HFJV groups as a whole, but HF-OPT infants had better oxygenation compared with the other two groups. There were no differences in PaCO2 between CV and HFJV, but the PaCO2 was lower for HF-LO compared with the other two groups. The peak inspiratory pressure and DeltaP (peak inspiratory pressure-PEEP) were lower for HFJV infants compared with CV infants.

CONCLUSIONS: HFJV reduces the incidence of BPD at 36 weeks and the need for home oxygen in premature infants with uncomplicated RDS, but does not reduce the risk of acute airleak. There is no increase in adverse outcomes compared with CV. HF-OPT improves oxygenation, decreases exposure to hypocarbia, and reduces the risk of grade III-IV IVH and/or PVL.

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