Objective: In a randomized, controlled, multicenter trial, we tested the hypothesis that high-frequency ventilation (HFV) with a high lung volume strategy results in fewer treatment failures than intermittent positive pressure ventilation (IPPV) with high rates and low peak inspiratory pressures.
Study design: Infants with a gestational age between >/=24 weeks and <30 weeks, requiring mechanical ventilation within 6 hours of birth, were randomly assigned to receive either IPPV or HFV until 240 hours after randomization, extubation, or meeting treatment failure criteria. Treatment failure, the primary end point, was determined when air leaks, an oxygenation index >35 to 45 (depending on gestational age), death, or chronic lung disease occurred. Chronic lung disease was defined as persistent requirement of mechanical ventilation, continuous positive airway pressure, or supplemental oxygen at a postmenstrual age of 36 weeks. Secondary end points included the incidence of intracranial hemorrhage.
Results: The third scheduled interim analysis led to termination of the trial after recruitment of 284 infants. Treatment failure criteria were met by 46% of infants receiving IPPV and 54% of infants receiving HFV (1-tailed primary hypothesis, P =.92; 2-tailed chi2 test, P =.15). Air leaks occurred in 31% and 42% (P =.042), CLD in 23% and 25%, and grade 3-4 intracranial hemorrhage in 13% and 14% of IPPV-treated and HFV-treated patients, respectively. The mortality rate before discharge was 10% in both groups.
Conclusion: HFV with a high lung volume strategy did not cause less lung injury in preterm infants than IPPV with a high rate and low peak inspiratory pressures.