A multicenter randomized trial of high frequency oscillatory ventilation as compared with conventional mechanical ventilation in preterm infants with respiratory failure

Early Hum Dev. 1993 Feb;32(1):1-10. doi: 10.1016/0378-3782(93)90088-c.


A multicenter randomised trial was conducted in nine neonatal centers in Japan to re-evaluate the safety and the efficacy of high frequency oscillatory ventilation using the piston type oscillator (Hummingbird) in the treatment of respiratory failure in preterm infants weighing between 750 and 2000 g at birth. A total of 92 infants were enrolled in the study. Forty-six infants were allocated to high frequency oscillatory ventilation and 46 infants to conventional mechanical ventilation. There were no differences in sex, birth weight, gestation and Apgar score between groups. The study was begun 2.0 +/- 1.6 h (mean +/- S.D.) after birth in the high frequency oscillation group and 1.7 +/- 1.5 h after birth in the conventional mechanical ventilation group. The absence of intraventricular hemorrhage was confirmed by echography in all cases before beginning ventilation. Mortality was similar in high frequency oscillatory ventilation and conventional mechanical ventilation (0 and 2%). The incidence of intraventricular hemorrhage was also similar in the high frequency and conventional mechanical ventilation groups (15 and 13% overall; 4 and 2% in grades III and IV, respectively). Nine percent of the infants in high frequency oscillatory ventilation and 13% in conventional mechanical ventilation developed bronchopulmonary dysplasia, but the difference was not significant. The frequency of air leaks was also equal in both groups. Periventricular leukomalacia was detected in 9% of infants on conventional mechanical ventilation and 2% on high frequency oscillation, but the difference was not significant. Mean airway pressure was significantly higher in the high frequency oscillatory ventilation group and the infants on high frequency oscillation showed a significantly higher arterial to alveolar oxygen tension ratio after 6 h of treatment. These results suggest that high frequency oscillatory ventilation does not increase the risk of severe complications such as air leaks, intraventricular hemorrhage or periventricular leukomalacia when it is used by experienced neonatologists. Indeed high frequency oscillatory ventilation helps provide better oxygenation with higher mean airway pressure without increasing the risk of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and severe complications such as air leaks and intraventricular hemorrhage.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / etiology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • High-Frequency Ventilation* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / therapy*
  • Leukomalacia, Periventricular / etiology
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / therapeutic use
  • Respiration, Artificial / adverse effects
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / therapy*
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / therapy*


  • Pulmonary Surfactants