Aim: We aimed to review the impact of introducing binasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for acute respiratory distress in newborns ≥32 weeks gestation during retrieval in Western Australia.
Methods: Retrospective review of newborns ≥32 weeks gestation with acute respiratory distress, transported by the Western Australian Neonatal Transport Service between February 2002 and December 2004.
Results: Respiratory management of 369 newborns was examined. CPAP use increased significantly during the study period from 33% in 2002 to 59% in 2004. Overall, endotracheal tube (ETT) ventilation was required in 108 (29%), nasal CPAP in 166 (45%) and cot oxygen in 95 (26%) patients. Twenty-two (13%) newborns in the CPAP group subsequently required ETT ventilation within 24 h: these babies had higher initial oxygen requirements than those successfully transported on CPAP alone. There was no significant morbidity or mortality in patients retrieved on CPAP.
Conclusion: CPAP was increasingly utilised as an alternative to ETT ventilation for the management of most cases of less severe acute respiratory distress in near-term neonates on retrieval. This review demonstrated that newborns requiring more than 45-50% oxygen at the time of retrieval were more likely to require intubation at a later time, and hence may benefit from intubation at the time of retrieval. A prospective randomised trial would assist in ascertaining the true benefit of CPAP during retrieval in the newborn period.
© 2010 The Authors. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2010 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians).