Early use of high frequency ventilation in the premature neonate

Eur J Pediatr. 2003 Apr;162(4):219-26. doi: 10.1007/s00431-002-1145-z. Epub 2003 Feb 4.


This study evaluated whether the early use of high frequency ventilation (HFV) decreased the incidence of oxygen dependency at 36 weeks postconceptual age [chronic lung disease (CLD)] and improved developmental outcome. Neonates of less than 32 weeks gestational age needing ventilatory support for RDS who were admitted to a tertiary academic neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) within 6 h of birth were included in a prospective controlled clinical trial. With randomisation they were given either HFV (n=147) or conventional ventilation (CV) (n=153). As a primary outcome variable, ventilator and/or oxygen dependence at a postconceptual age of 36 weeks (CLD) was measured. Secondary outcome variables were: mortality at discharge, treatment failure, ventilator and/or oxygen dependence at 28-30 days (bronchopulmonary disease [BPD]), duration of ventilation, use of surfactant, days in oxygen and on continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), survival without BPD or CLD, air leak, intracranial haemorrhages (ICH) grades 3 and 4, periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) grades 1 and 2, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), necrotising enterocolitis (NEC), developmental outcome at 7 to 12 months and if necessary at 18-24 months corrected age. The results showed that CLD (16.3 vs. 12.4%), BPD (33.3 vs. 36.6%), early cerebral abnormalities, mortality at discharge (17.2 vs. 13.2%), failure rate (11.6 vs. 6.5%) and motor and mental developmental outcome at a corrected age of 18 to 24 months (p>0.05) did not differ between the two groups.

Conclusion: Under the present study design HFV compared with CV did not decrease chronic lung disease and no developmental outcome differences could be found at a corrected age of almost 2 years.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Developmental Disabilities / prevention & control*
  • High-Frequency Ventilation*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Lung Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / therapy*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / therapeutic use


  • Vasoconstrictor Agents