Background: Recently in a report of a single center a method has been described to apply surfactant via a thin endotracheal catheter to very low birth weight infants spontaneously breathing with nasal continuous positive airway pressure. We now analyzed available multicenter data.
Patients and methods: In a multicenter study investigating genetic risk factors, clinical and outcome data and data of antenatal and postnatal treatment of infants with a birth weight below 1,500 g were prospectively recorded. The measures of infants treated with the new method of surfactant application were compared to those of infants who received standard care. The analysis was restricted to infants with a gestational age below 31 weeks (n=1,541).
Results: 319 infants were treated with the new method and 1,222 with standard care. The need for mechanical ventilation during the first 72 h (29% vs. 53%, p<0.001), the rate of bronchopulmonary dysplasia defined as oxygen at 36 weeks of postmenstrual age (10.9 % vs. 17.5%, p=0.004) and the rate of death or bronchopulmonary dysplasia were significantly lower in the treatment group than in the standard care group. Surfactant, theophyllin, caffeine and doxapram were significantly more often and analgetics, catecholamines and dexamethasone were significantly less frequently used in the treatment group.
Conclusions: A new method of surfactant application was associated with a lower prevalence of mechanical ventilation and better pulmonary outcome. A prospective controlled trial is required to determine whether this approach is superior to standard care.
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart * New York.