Nasal continuous positive airway pressure and early surfactant therapy for respiratory distress syndrome in newborns of less than 30 weeks' gestation

Pediatrics. 1999 Feb;103(2):E24. doi: 10.1542/peds.103.2.e24.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biological Products*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Male
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Phospholipids*
  • Positive-Pressure Respiration*
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / administration & dosage*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / classification
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / drug therapy
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / mortality
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / therapy*
  • Steroids / administration & dosage
  • Time Factors


  • Biological Products
  • Phospholipids
  • Pulmonary Surfactants
  • Steroids
  • poractant alfa
  • Oxygen