Introduction: The present article reports our experience with high-frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV) in pediatric patients who deteriorated on conventional mechanical ventilation.
Methods: The chart records of 53 consecutively HFOV-treated patients from 1 January 1998 to 1 April 2004 were retrospectively analyzed. The parameters of demographic data, cause of respiratory insufficiency, Pediatric Index of Mortality score, oxygenation index and PaCO2 were recorded and calculated at various time points before and after the start of HFOV, along with patient outcome and cause of death.
Results: The overall survival rate was 64%. We observed remarkable differences in outcome depending on the cause of respiratory insufficiency; survival was 56% in patients with diffuse alveolar disease (DAD) and was 88% in patients with small airway disease (SAD). The oxygenation index was significantly higher before and during HFOV in DAD patients than in SAD patients. The PaCO2 prior to HFOV was higher in SAD patients compared with DAD patients and returned to normal values after the initiation of HFOV.
Conclusion: HFOV rescue therapy was associated with a high survival percentage in a selected group of children. Patients with DAD primarily had oxygenation failure. Future studies are necessary to evaluate whether the outcome in this group of patients may be improved if HFOV is applied earlier in the course of disease. Patients with SAD primarily had severe hypercapnia and HFOV therapy was very effective in achieving adequate ventilation.