Objective.

To determine whether synchronized nasal intermittent positive pressure ventilation (SNIPPV) would decrease extubation failure compared with nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) in preterm infants being ventilated for respiratory distress syndrome (RDS).

Methods.

Infants who were ≤34 weeks' gestational age and who were ventilated for RDS were randomized to either SNIPPV or NCPAP after extubation. The criteria for extubation were peak inspiratory pressure of ≤16 cm H2O, positive end expiratory pressure of ≤5 cm H2O, intermittent mandatory ventilation rate of 15 to 25, and fraction of inspired oxygen ≤0.35. Pulmonary function tests (PFT) were obtained before extubation. After extubation, blood gases were monitored for a minimum of 72 hours. Success was defined as remaining in the selected mode of treatment or demonstrating improvement (switching to oxyhood/nasal cannula/room air) by 72 hours.

Results.

Thirty-two (94%) of 34 infants were extubated successfully with the use of SNIPPV versus 18 (60%) of 30 with the use of NCPAP (P < .01). There was no difference in apnea/bradycardia episodes in the 2 groups during the 72-hour study period. Among 55 infants who had PFT, 80% (8 of 10) with dynamic lung compliance of ≥0.5 mL/kg/cm H2O and expiratory airway resistance of ≤70 cm H2O/L/s were extubated successfully. In infants with poor lung function (dynamic lung compliance: <0.5 mL/kg/cm H2O; expiratory airway resistance: >70 cm H2O/L/s), successful extubation was seen in 93% (27 of 29) in the SNIPPV group and 60% (15 of 25) in the NCPAP group. When weight was controlled for at the time of extubation, the odds of success in the SNIPPV group were 21.1 times higher (95% confidence interval: 3.4, 130.1) than that of the NCPAP group.

Conclusions.

SNIPPV is more effective than NCPAP in weaning infants with RDS from the ventilator. PFT may be useful in predicting successful extubation.

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