Increasing Volume-Targeted Ventilation Use in the NICU

Pediatrics. 2021 May;147(5):e20201500. doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-1500. Epub 2021 Apr 16.


Background: In preterm infants who require mechanical ventilation (MV), volume-targeted ventilation (VTV) modes are associated with lower rates of bronchopulmonary dysplasia compared with pressure-limited ventilation. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia rates in our NICU were higher than desired, prompting quality improvement initiatives to improve MV by increasing the use of VTV.

Methods: We implemented and tested interventions over a 3-year period. Primary outcomes were the percentage of conventional MV hours when any-VTV mode was used and the percentage of conventional MV hours when an exclusively VTV mode was used. Exclusively VTV modes were modes in which all breaths were volume targeted. We evaluated outcomes during 3 project periods: baseline (May 2016-December 2016); epoch 1 (December 2016-October 2018), increasing the use of any-VTV mode; and epoch 2 (October 2018-November 2019), increasing the use of exclusively VTV modes.

Results: Use of any-VTV mode increased from 18 694 of 22 387 (83%) MV hours during baseline to 72 846 of 77 264 (94%) and 58 174 of 60 605 (96%) MV hours during epochs 1 and 2, respectively (P < .001). Use of exclusively VTV increased from 5967 of 22 387 (27%) during baseline to 47 364 of 77 264 (61%) and 46 091 of 60 605 (76%) of all conventional MV hours during epochs 1 and 2, respectively (P < .001). In statistical process control analyses, multiple interventions were associated with improvements in primary outcomes. Measured clinical outcomes were unchanged.

Conclusions: Quality improvement interventions were associated with improved use of VTV but no change in measured clinical outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / etiology
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Respiration, Artificial / adverse effects
  • Respiration, Artificial / methods*
  • Respiration, Artificial / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors