Objective: To determine whether early versus late treatment with porcine surfactant (Curosurf) reduces the requirement of mechanical ventilation in very preterm infants primarily supported by nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nasal CPAP).
Design: Multicenter randomized, controlled trial.
Patients: The study population comprised 60 infants <30 weeks' gestation with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) who had an arterial to alveolar oxygen tension ratio (a/APO2) of 0.35 to 0.22. The cohort from which the study population was generated comprised 397 infants.
Results: The need for mechanical ventilation or death within 7 days of age was reduced from 63% in the late-treated infants to 21% in early-treated infants. Increasing numbers of antenatal steroid doses also improved the outcome, especially in the early-treated infants. Six hours after randomization mean a/APO2 rose to 0.48 in the early-treated infants compared with 0.36 in the late-treated. The need of mechanical ventilation before discharge was reduced from 68% in the late-treated to 25% in the early-treated infants.
Conclusions: Nasal CPAP in combination with early treatment with Curosurf significantly improves oxygenation and reduces the subsequent need for mechanical ventilation in infants <30 weeks' gestational age with RDS.