Objective: To determine if an early commencement of caffeine is associated with improved survival without bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in preterm infants.
Methods: Retrospective data analysis from the Alere Neonatal Database for infants weighing ≤1250 g, and treated with caffeine within the first 10 days of life. The neonatal outcomes were compared between the infants who received early caffeine (0-2 days) with the infants who received delayed caffeine (3-10 days).
Results: A total of 2951 infants met the inclusion criteria (early caffeine 1986, late caffeine 965). The early use of caffeine was associated with reduction in BPD (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.58-0.82, p < 0.001) and BPD or death (OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.63-0.94, p = 0.01). Other respiratory outcomes also improved with the early commencement of caffeine. The frequency of severe intraventricular hemorrhage and patent ductus arteriosus was lower and the length of hospitalization was shorter in infants receiving early caffeine therapy. However, early use of caffeine was associated with an increase in the risk of nectrotizing enterocolits (NEC) (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.04-1.91, p = 0.027).
Conclusion: Early commencement of caffeine was associated with improvement in survival without BPD in preterm infants. The risk of NEC with early caffeine use requires further investigation.
Keywords: BPD; NEC; neonates; premature; xanthine.