[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Early use of high-frequency ventilation and exogenous surfactant is proposed as the optimal mode of ventilatory support in infants with respiratory distress syndrome. In very premature infants, we tested the hypothesis that high-frequency versus conventional ventilation could decrease exogenous surfactant requirements and improve pulmonary outcome, without altering the complication rate, including that of severe intraventricular hemorrhage.
Preterm infants with a postmenstrual age of 24 to 29 weeks, presenting with respiratory distress syndrome were randomly assigned to high-frequency oscillatory ventilation (lung volume recruitment strategy) or conventional ventilation.
Two hundred seventy-three infants were enrolled. One hundred fifty-three had a postmenstrual age of 24 to 27 weeks, and 143 had a birth weight </=1000 g. One hundred thirty-four infants were randomized at 142 minutes of life (median) to receive conventional ventilation (mean postmenstrual age at birth: 27. 6 +/- 1.5 weeks; mean birth weight: 997 +/- 245 g); and 139 infants were randomized at 145 minutes of life to receive high-frequency ventilation (mean postmenstrual age at birth: 27.5 +/- 1.4 weeks; mean birth weight: 976 +/- 219 g). High-frequency ventilation, compared with conventional ventilation, was associated with a twofold reduction in the requirement for >/=2 instillations of exogenous surfactant (30% vs 62%; odds ratio:.27; 95% confidence interval:.16-.44) and no difference in pulmonary outcome. The incidence of severe intraventricular hemorrhage was 24% in the high-frequency group and 14% in the conventional ventilation group (adjusted odds ratio: 1.50; 95% confidence interval:.68-3.30).
Early use of high-frequency oscillatory ventilation in very premature infants decreases exogenous surfactant requirements, does not improve the pulmonary outcome, and may be associated with an increased incidence of severe intraventricular hemorrhage.