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Guidelines for ventilator use help premature infants breathe easier
Date:6/13/2011

CU by Children's staff in 2007.

"There is a long-standing but growing movement away from the use of mechanical ventilators with these children, and while there have been other large studies, they have only focused on provision of CPAP in the delivery room," Levesque noted. "That's not the whole story, and we think that by putting all five in place at the same time we are giving these children more complete support."

The researchers compared the outcomes of 60 infants born between seven and 16 weeks premature and admitted to the St. Elizabeth's NICU after the bCPAP guidelines were put in place with those of 61 similar infants admitted in the year before. Their analysis showed that those treated according to the new guidelines were less likely to be intubated or to need mechanical ventilation or surfactant (which can help keep a premature infant's lungs open), and needed fewer days on supplemental oxygen overall. They also saw downward trends in the numbers of children treated for BPD and low blood pressure (hypotension).

In addition, the team noted reductions in the equipment costs associated with care for the children treated under the new guidelines, as well as in medication costs related to surfactant treatment.

"We would love to see all premature babies receive the benefits of bCPAP-based care," Levesque concluded. "We are already seeing expanded interest in these guidelines at other area hospitals, and are working with some of the hospitals that refer premature babies to us to use bCPAP as early as possible, particularly in the delivery room."


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Contact: Erin McColgan
erin.mccolgan@childrens.harvard.edu
617-919-3110
Children's Hospital Boston
Source:Eurekalert

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