Aim: To evaluate intubating conditions, extubation times and outcome in preterm infants receiving remifentanil as induction agent for the INSURE procedure.
Methods: In twenty-one preterm infants of 29 to 32 weeks gestation and signs of respiratory distress, we utilized remifentanil as induction agent for the INSURE procedure. Following intubation and surfactant application, the infants were mechanically ventilated until respiratory drive was judged to be satisfactory for continuing CPAP therapy. Intubating conditions were classified by our own scoring system by rating limb movements, coughing and breathing. Heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation were recorded during the entire INSURE procedure.
Results: Remifentanil provided excellent or good intubating conditions in all patients. We observed no serious side effects after remifentanil infusion, in particular, no thorax rigidity, clinically significant bradycardia or arterial hypotension. Average extubation time after surfactant administration was 16.9 min (1-45 min); none of the infants had to be reintubated. Following extubation, the infants required only 3.3 days (1-8 days) of CPAP therapy. None exhibited serious complications of prematurity like periventricular leucomalacia, intraventricular haemorrhage >I degree, necrotizing enterocolitis or retinopathy.
Conclusion: In this pilot study, INSURE with remifentanil was associated with good intubating conditions and early extubation resulting in an excellent neonatal outcome.