Ventilatory strategies for the extremely premature infant

Paediatr Anaesth. 2008 May;18(5):371-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9592.2008.02436.x. Epub 2008 Mar 18.


Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), which has long-term adverse outcomes, is common following extremely premature birth. BPD has a multifactorial etiology, including a high level or prolonged use of mechanical ventilation. Numerous research studies, therefore, have attempted to identify ventilatory techniques which reduce the likelihood of baro/volutrauma and hence BPD; these have been critically examined in this review, particularly with regard to their relevance to the extremely prematurely born infant. This has highlighted that few randomized studies of ventilatory strategies have concentrated exclusively on those high-risk infants. Overall, in prematurely born infants, advantages have been suggested by the results of studies examining pressure support, proportional assist and volume-targeted ventilation. In addition, High-Frequency Oscillatory Ventilation (HFOV) may reduce the deterioration seen in lung function of prematurely born infants over the first year after birth. In conclusion, more randomized studies are required which concentrate exclusively on the extremely prematurely born population who are at highest risk of BPD. It is essential in such studies that long-term follow-up assessment is inbuilt so that the benefits/adverse effects can be appropriately identified.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / etiology*
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / therapy
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / adverse effects
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / methods*
  • High-Frequency Ventilation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal / trends*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic