Aim: This study aims to assess nursing perceptions of high-flow nasal cannulae (HFNC) in comparison with nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) as post-extubation respiratory support for very preterm infants.
Methods: A standardised questionnaire form was distributed in person to nursing staff in The Royal Women's Hospital neonatal unit, where HFNC had been recently introduced in the context of a clinical trial. Nursing staff were eligible to participate if they routinely cared for infants receiving respiratory support.
Results: The survey was completed by 99/144 eligible nurses. The majority of the 99 nurses surveyed felt that HFNC was less likely than NCPAP to prevent re-intubation of infants 24-26 weeks' gestation but equally likely to prevent re-intubation of infants 28-30 weeks' gestation. Nurses preferred NCPAP for post-extubation support of 24- and 26-week infants, and HFNC for 28- and 30-week infants, despite being less experienced with HFNC. Perceptions of HFNC compared with NCPAP included increased ease-of-use, improved infant comfort and reduced nasal trauma.
Conclusions: Neonatal nurses preferred NCPAP for post-extubation support of infants <28 weeks' gestation and HFNC for infants of 28 or 30 weeks' gestation. Nurses accurately predicted varying efficacy of HFNC across different gestational ages, consistent with the findings of a contemporaneous randomised trial. In the context of clinical non-inferiority, as shown in the randomised trial, nursing preference for HFNC over NCPAP in preterm infants ≥28 weeks' gestation supports the use of HFNC as post-extubation support in this population.
Keywords: continuous positive airway pressure; high-flow nasal cannulae; infant; nursing practice; premature; questionnaire.
© 2014 The Authors. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health © 2014 Paediatrics and Child Health Division (Royal Australasian College of Physicians).