Nasal continuous positive airway pressure for respiratory distress in non-tertiary care centres: what is needed and where to from here?

J Paediatr Child Health. 2012 Sep;48(9):747-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2012.02537.x.


Respiratory distress is one of the commonest reasons for admission to a special care nursery (SCN) affecting between 2.5 and 5.0% of all babies born per year. While most recover with supplemental oxygen, some require transfer to a neonatal intensive care leading to significant family disruption, and financial cost. Does nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP) improve outcomes in babies with respiratory distress? What are the risks of its use? Should it be used in SCNs, and, if so, what is required in order to undertake nCPAP safely? There is strong evidence to support the use of nCPAP in the treatment of babies with respiratory distress. The risk benefit ratio of providing nCPAP in SCNs depends upon many factors including the ability to maintain the skills required and the distance/time to the nearest tertiary centre. Appropriate nurseries should be identified with the aim of supporting them in the provision of nCPAP in a safe manner.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Tertiary Care Centers*