Background: To compare two methods of weaning premature infants from nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP).
Methods: Between March and November 2012, 88 preterm infants who were stable on NCPAP of 5 cmH2O with FIO2 <30% for a minimum of 6 h were randomly allocated to one of two groups. The high flow nasal cannula (HFNC) group received HFNC with flow of 2 L/min and FIO2 = 0.3 and then stepwise reduction of FIO2 and then flow. The non-HFNC group was maintained on NCPAP of 5 cmH2O and gradual reduction of oxygen until they were on FIO2 = 0.21 for 6 h, and we had weaned them directly from NCPAP (with pressure of 5 cmH2O) to room air.
Results: No significant differences were found between 2 study groups with regards to gestational age, birth weight, Apgar score at 1 and 5 min after birth, patent ductus arteriosus and use of xanthines. The mean duration of oxygen therapy after randomization was significantly lower in HFNC group compared to non-HFNC group (20.6 ± 16.8 h vs. 49.6 ± 25.3 h, P < 0.001). Also, the mean length of hospital stay was significantly lower in HFNC group compared to non-HFNC group (11.3 ± 7.8 days vs. 14.8 ± 8.6 days, P = 0.04). The rate of successful weaning was not statistically different between two groups.
Conclusions: Weaning from NCPAP to HFNC could decrease the duration of oxygen therapy and length of hospitalization in preterm infants.
Keywords: Continuous positive airway pressure; high flow nasal cannula; preterm infant; weaning.