Objective: To determine whether very low birth weight infants (VLBWIs), initially supported with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and then selectively treated with the INSURE (intubation, surfactant, and extubation to CPAP; CPAP/INSURE) protocol, need less mechanical ventilation than those supported with supplemental oxygen, surfactant, and mechanical ventilation if required (Oxygen/mechanical ventilation [MV]).
Study design: In a multicenter randomized controlled trial, spontaneously breathing VLBWIs weighing 800-1500 g were allocated to receive either therapy. In the CPAP/INSURE group, if respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) did not occur, CPAP was discontinued after 3-6 hours. If RDS developed and the fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO(2)) was >0.35, the INSURE protocol was indicated. Failure criteria included FiO(2) >0.60, severe apnea or respiratory acidosis, and receipt of more than 2 doses of surfactant. In the Oxygen/MV group, in the presence of RDS, supplemental oxygen without CPAP was given, and if FiO(2) was >0.35, surfactant and mechanical ventilation were provided.
Results: A total of 256 patients were randomized to either the CPAP/INSURE group (n = 131) or the Oxygen/MV group (n = 125). The need for mechanical ventilation was lower in the CPAP/INSURE group (29.8% vs 50.4%; P = .001), as was the use of surfactant (27.5% vs 46.4%; P = .002). There were no differences in death, pneumothorax, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, and other complications of prematurity between the 2 groups.
Conclusion: CPAP and early selective INSURE reduced the need for mechanical ventilation and surfactant in VLBWIs without increasing morbidity and death. These results may be particularly relevant for resource-limited regions.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00368680.
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