Use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in neonatal units--a survey of current preferences and practice in Germany

Eur J Med Res. 2007 Apr 26;12(4):139-44.


There is only limited evidence regarding the equipment or the settings (pressure and flow) at which CPAP should be applied in neonatal care. Aims of this nationwide survey of German neonatal units were to investigate (1) for which clinical indications CPAP was employed, (2) which CPAP equipment was used, (3) which CPAP settings were applied. A questionnaire on the use of CPAP was sent to all children's hospitals in Germany. Data were stratified and compared by level of medical care provided (non-academic children's hospital, academic teaching hospital and university children's hospital). 274 institutions were contacted by mailed questionnaire. The response rate was 86%, 90 non-academic children's hospitals, 119 academic teaching hospitals and 26 university children's hospitals replied. (1) There were no statistically significant difference in CPAP use between the institutions: 231 (98%) used CPAP for treating respiratory distress syndrome, 225 (96%) for treating apnoea-bradycardia-syndrome and 230 (98%) following extubation. (2) Commercial CPAP systems were employed by 71% of units, the others used a combination of different devices. Respirator generated CPAP was most commonly used. Exclusively mononasal CPAP was used by only 9%, and binasal CPAP by 55% of institutions. (3) Median CPAP was 4.5 cm H2O (range 3-7), median maximum CPAP was 7 cm H2O (range 4-10), with no statistically significant differences between the hospitals.

Conclusion: Between units, CPAP was given via a broad range of CPAP systems and at varying pressure settings. The reported differences reflects personal experiences and preferences, rather than sound evidence from clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / instrumentation
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / therapy
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires