Objective: To identify whether inhaled nitric oxide treatment decreased indicators of long-term pulmonary morbidities after discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit.
Study design: The Nitric Oxide (to Prevent) Chronic Lung Disease trial enrolled preterm infants (<1250 g) between 7 to 21 days of age who were ventilated and at high risk for bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Follow-up occurred at 12 +/- 3 months of age adjusted for prematurity; long-term pulmonary morbidity and other outcomes were reported by parents during structured blinded interviews.
Results: A total of 456 infants (85%) were seen at 1 year. Compared with control infants, infants randomized to inhaled nitric oxide received significantly less bronchodilators (odds ratio [OR] 0.53 [95% confidence interval 0.36-0.78]), inhaled steroids (OR 0.50 [0.32-0.77]), systemic steroids (OR 0.56 [0.32-0.97]), diuretics (OR 0.54 [0.34-0.85]), and supplemental oxygen (OR 0.65 [0.44-0.95]) after discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit. There were no significant differences between parental report of rehospitalizations (OR 0.83 [0.57-1.21]) or wheezing or whistling in the chest (OR 0.70 [0.48-1.03]).
Conclusions: Infants treated with inhaled nitric oxide received fewer outpatient respiratory medications than the control group. However, any decision to institute routine use of this dosing regimen should also take into account the results of the 24-month neurodevelopmental assessment.