Lung protective ventilatory strategies in very low birth weight infants

J Perinatol. 2008 May;28 Suppl 1:S41-6. doi: 10.1038/jp.2008.49.


Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is the most common respiratory diagnosis in preterm infants. Surfactant therapy and mechanical ventilation using conventional or high-frequency ventilation have been the standard of care in the management of RDS. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) continues to remain as a major morbidity in very low birth weight infants despite these treatments. There is no significant difference in pulmonary outcome when an optimal lung volume strategy is used with conventional or high-frequency ventilation. Lung injury is directly related to the duration of invasive ventilation via the endotracheal tube. Studies using noninvasive ventilation, such as nasal continuous positive airway pressure and noninvasive positive pressure ventilation, have shown to decrease postextubation failures as well as a trend toward reduced risk of BPD. Lung protective ventilatory strategy may involve noninvasive ventilation as a primary therapy or following surfactant administration in very preterm infants with RDS. Initial steps in the management of preterm infants may also include sustained inflation to establish functional residual capacity, followed by noninvasive ventilation to minimize lung injury and subsequent development of BPD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / etiology
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / prevention & control*
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure*
  • Functional Residual Capacity
  • High-Frequency Ventilation*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Intubation, Intratracheal
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration*
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / administration & dosage
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / therapy*
  • Risk Factors


  • Pulmonary Surfactants