A new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, finds that when compared with continuous positive airway pressure, intermittent positive-pressure ventilation did not appear to decrease the need for mechanical ventilation in infants with respiratory distress syndrome.

The single-center trial, conducted between August 2007 and September 2009 at an inborn tertiary NICU, enrolled infants with gestational ages between 26 to 33 weeks. The researchers randomly assigned 200 infants, 100 in each arm, to either group.

The neonates’ need for mechanical ventilation within the first 72 hours of life did not differ significantly between the two groups, but in post-hoc analysis, significantly more infants in the intermittent group remained extubated compared with those in the continuous positive airway pressure group (10% versus 22%; RR=0.45; 95% CI, 0.22-0.91).

The researchers found the rate of failure was lower in the group of infants who had a birth weight of more than 1000 g, which could indicate a particular avenue in reducing the need for ventilation in this subgroup of patients. This subgroup of neonates, however, was small and their findings should be interpreted with caution, the researchers wrote.

Source: Pediatric Supersite