Positive-pressure ventilation (PPV) using a manual ventilation device and a face mask is recommended for compromised newborn infants in the delivery room (DR). Mask ventilation is associated with airway obstruction and leak. A nasal tube is an alternative interface, but its safety and efficacy have not been tested in extremely preterm infants.


An unblinded randomized controlled trial was conducted in Australia, and the Netherlands. Infants were stratified by gestational age (24–25/26–29 weeks) and center. Immediately before birth infants were randomly assigned to receive PPV and/or continuous positive airway pressure with either a nasal tube or a size 00 soft, round silicone mask. Resuscitation protocols were standardized; respiratory support was provided using a T-piece device commencing in room air. Criteria for intubation included need for cardiac compressions, apnea, continuous positive airway pressure >7 cm H2O, and fraction of inspired oxygen >0.4. Primary outcome was endotracheal intubation in the first 24 hours from birth.


Three hundred sixty-three infants were randomly assigned; the study terminated early on the grounds of futility. Baseline variables were similar between groups. Intubation rates in the first 24 hours were 54% and 55% in the nasal tube and face mask groups, respectively (odds ratio: 0.97; 95% confidence interval: 0.63–1.50). There were no important differences in any of the secondary outcomes within the whole cohort or between the 2 gestational age subgroups.


In infants at <30 weeks’ gestation receiving PPV in the DR, there were no differences in short-term outcomes using the nasal tube compared with the face mask.

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