Humidified high flow nasal cannulae: current practice in Australasian nurseries, a survey

J Paediatr Child Health. 2012 Feb;48(2):106-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2011.02070.x. Epub 2011 Apr 7.


Aim: Humidified High Flow Nasal Cannula (HHFNC) has been increasingly adopted as a new means of respiratory support throughout the world. However, evidence to support its safety and efficacy is limited. The aim of the present survey was to determine current practices regarding the usage of HHFNC by neonatologists in Australia and New Zealand.

Methods: Surveys were sent to all 167 neonatologists identified by the list of centres in the Australia and New Zealand Neonatal Network.

Results: A total of 157 surveys were sent to valid email addresses: 111 (71%) responded of which 105 (67%) had completed the questionnaire. HHFNC is used in 17 (63%) of neonatal intensive care units in Australia and New Zealand. It is most commonly used to reduce nasal trauma (91%) and provide continuous positive airways pressure (62%). The main perceived benefits of HHFNC were the easier application and care of the infant (86%), and improved tolerance by the baby (84%). Rain out leading to fluid instillation into the upper airway (59%) was the most common problem.

Conclusion: This survey has provided a snapshot of the practice of HHFNC usage in Australia and New Zealand in 2010 and has revealed that HHFNC use is widespread and that clinical practices are diverse. The majority of neonatologists acknowledge that there is limited evidence to support its efficacy and safety, and would be happy to participate in clinical trials to address how best to deliver HHFNC.

MeSH terms

  • Australasia
  • Catheters / adverse effects
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / adverse effects
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / instrumentation
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Neonatology
  • Nurseries, Infant
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy / adverse effects
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy / methods*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires