Objective: To compare three different systems of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP): the naso-pharyngeal tube and two-prong systems in newborns, focusing on duration of CPAP, side effects and cost.
Design: Randomized clinical study.
Patients: Between July 2000 and September 2001 newborns were randomized to three different CPAP systems. Forty infants in two weight groups (>2500 g and 1250-2500 g; 20 patients in each group) were included.
Results: In the group >2500 g the median duration of CPAP was 1.1 days (range 0.25-14.3 days). The median time on a naso-pharyngeal CPAP was 1 day (range 0.25-14.3 days), on Hudson prongs 1.6 days (range 0.5-3.3 days) and on the Infant Flow system 0.7 days (range 0.3-13.6 days; p>0.05 for comparison between groups, Fisher's exact test). With naso-pharyngeal CPAP, 2 patients developed moderate nasal injuries. On Hudson, 2 patients developed moderate and three mild nasal injuries. One patient on the Infant Flow showed mild and one moderate nasal injuries. In the weight group 1250-2500 g the median duration of CPAP was 1.1 days (range 0.1-7.0 days). The median time on the naso-pharyngeal tube was 0.9 days (range 0.1-7 days), on Hudson prongs 1.1 days (range 0.7-6.6 days) and on the Infant Flow system 1.3 days (range 0.25-5.9 days; p>0.05 for comparison between groups, Fisher's exact test). With a naso-pharyngeal tube, one infant developed mild and one moderate nasal injuries. On Hudson prongs, two had moderate nasal injuries. On Infant Flow, one newborn showed a severe nasal injury and two mild injuries. None of the patients developed a pneumothorax.
Conclusion: The naso-pharyngeal tube is an easy, safe and economical CPAP system usable with every common ventilator. For very low birth weight newborns, a prong system may have advantages.