Objective: Continuous positive airway pressure is an established treatment for respiratory distress in neonates. Continuous positive airway pressure has been applied to infants using an array of devices. The aim of this experimental study was to investigate the characteristics of seven continuous positive airway pressure systems using simulated breath profiles from newborns.
Design: Experimental in vitro study.
Setting: Research laboratory in Sweden.
Measurements and main results: In vitro simulation of spontaneous neonatal breathing was achieved with a mechanical lung model. Simulation included two breath profiles, three levels of continuous positive airway pressure with and without short binasal prongs and different levels of constant leak. Pressure stability and imposed work of breathing were determined. Seven continuous positive airway pressure systems were tested. There were large differences in pressure stability and imposed work of breathing between tested continuous positive airway pressure systems. Neopuff and Medijet had the highest pressure instability and imposed work of breathing. Benveniste, Hamilton Universal (Arabella), and Bubble continuous positive airway pressure showed intermediate results. AirLife and Infant Flow had the lowest pressure instability and imposed work of breathing. AirLife and Infant Flow showed the least decrease in delivered pressure when challenged with constant leak.
Conclusion: The seven tested continuous positive airway pressure systems showed large variations in pressure stability and imposed work of breathing. They also showed large differences in how well they maintain continuous positive airway pressure when exposed to leak. For most systems, imposed work of breathing increased with increasing continuous positive airway pressure level. The clinical importance of the difference in pressure stability is uncertain. Our results may facilitate the design of clinical studies examining the effect of pressure stability on outcome.