T-piece resuscitators: how do they compare?

Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2019 Mar;104(2):F122-F127. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2018-314860. Epub 2018 May 4.


Background: The T-piece resuscitator (TPR) has seen increased use as a primary resuscitation device with newborns. Traditional TPR design uses a high resistance expiratory valve to produce positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP) or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) at resuscitation. A new TPR device that uses a dual flow ratio valve (fluidic flip) to produce PEEP/CPAP is now available (rPAP). We aimed to compare the measured ventilation performance of different TPR devices in a controlled bench test study.

Design/methods: Single operator provided positive pressure ventilation to an incremental testlung compliance (Crs) model (0.5-5 mL/cmH2O) with five different brands of TPR device (Atom, Neopuff, rPAP, GE Panda warmer and Draeger Resuscitaire). At recommended peak inflation pressure (PIP) 20 cmH2O, PEEP of 5 cmH2O and rate of 60 inflations per minute.

Results: 1864 inflations were analysed. Four of the five devices tested demonstrated inadvertent elevations in mean PEEP (5.5-10.3 cmH2O, p<0.001) from set value as Crs was increased, while one device (rPAP) remained at the set value. Measured PIP exceeded the set value in two infant warmer devices (GE and Draeger) with inbuilt TPR at Crs of 0.5 (24.5 and 23.5 cmH2O, p<0.001). Significant differences were seen in tidal volumes across devices particularly at higher Crs (p<0.001).

Conclusions: Results show important variation in delivered ventilation from set values due to inherent TPR device design characteristics with a range of lung compliances expected at birth. Device-generated inadvertent PEEP and overdelivery of PIP may be clinically deleterious for term and preterm newborns or infants with larger Crs during resuscitation.

Keywords: T-piece resuscitator; inadvertent PEEP; newborn; resuscitation.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / methods*
  • Equipment Design*
  • Humans
  • Infant Care / methods*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration / instrumentation*
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration / methods
  • Tidal Volume