Background: Majority of preterm infants do well with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) as the sole respiratory management; but some require endotracheal intubation and surfactant administration. While intubation is needed predominantly in extremely preterm infants (<28 weeks); some of the more mature preterm infants also require it. Currently, there are no clear guidelines regarding indications for endotracheal intubation in such infants.
Aims: To understand the current practice regarding "criteria for intubation" in moderate to late preterm infants with respiratory distress.
Methods: A survey of neonatologists in Australia New Zealand Neonatal Network (ANZNN) was conducted between April and June 2019.
Results: At least one neonatologist each from 29 of the 30 tertiary ANZNN Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) responded to the survey. In total, 118/200 (59%) neonatologists responded. The most common criteria for intubation were CPAP = 8 cmH2 O (61%), pH < 7.2 (55%), pCO2 > 70 mmHg (48%), FiO2 > 40% (40%), chest retractions (48%), more than two episodes of apnea requiring intervention (54%), and chest X-ray (CXR) showing moderate-severe hyaline membrane disease (HMD, 49%).
Conclusion: While there were variations in practice, nearly 50% of the neonatologists shared a common threshold with regards to the CPAP level, FiO2 , blood gas parameters, and clinical and radiological findings. The results of this survey will help in designing future randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on this subject.
Keywords: criteria for intubation; late preterm infants; respiratory distress.
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