High-frequency nasal ventilation for 21 d maintains gas exchange with lower respiratory pressures and promotes alveolarization in preterm lambs

Pediatr Res. 2014 Apr;75(4):507-16. doi: 10.1038/pr.2013.254. Epub 2013 Dec 30.


Background: Short-term high-frequency nasal ventilation (HFNV) of preterm neonates provides acceptable gas exchange compared to endotracheal intubation and intermittent mandatory ventilation (IMV). Whether long-term HFNV will provide acceptable gas exchange is unknown. We hypothesized that HFNV for up to 21 d would lead to acceptable gas exchange at lower inspired oxygen (O2) levels and airway pressures compared to intubation and IMV.

Methods: Preterm lambs were exposed to antenatal steroids and treated with perinatal surfactant and postnatal caffeine. Lambs were intubated and resuscitated by IMV. At ~3 h of age, half of the lambs were switched to noninvasive HFNV. Support was for 3 or 21 d. By design, Pao2 and Paco2 were not different between groups.

Results: At 3 d (n = 5) and 21 d (n = 4) of HFNV, fractional inspired O2 (FiO2), peak inspiratory pressure (PIP), mean airway, intratracheal, and positive end-expiratory pressures, oxygenation index, and alveolar-arterial gradient were significantly lower than matched periods of intubation and IMV. Pao2/FiO2 ratio was significantly higher at 3 and 21 d of HFNV compared to matched intubation and IMV. HFNV led to better alveolarization at 3 and 21 d.

Conclusion: Long-term HFNV provides acceptable gas exchange at lower inspired O2 levels and respiratory pressures compared to intubation and IMV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn*
  • High-Frequency Ventilation / methods*
  • Nose*
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / cytology*
  • Respiration*
  • Sheep