The effects of a single dose of surfactant TA were assessed in premature neonates (birth weight 750 to 1749 g) with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) in a multicenter, double-blind, randomized clinical trial. Only neonates with surfactant deficiency and without ultrasonographic evidence of intracranial hemorrhage ≥grade II were enrolled. Fifty-four patients received surfactant (100 mg of phospholipid per kilogram of body weight) and 46 patients received an air placebo within 8 hours of life. Treatment with this surfactant resulted in a significant reduction in the severity of RDS with a concomitant increase in the proportion of neonates with mild disease. The frequency of pulmonary interstitial emphysema and of pneumothorax was significantly lower in treated neonates compared with control neonates (2% vs 26%, P = .0008, and 7% vs 39%, P = .0004, respectively). The frequency of intracranial hemorrhage was significantly lower in the surfactant group compared with the control group (20% vs 54%, P = .0008) and was also reduced for the smallest nenoates in the surfactant group (13% vs 73%, P = .00008). When categorized according to severity of intracranial hemorrhage and severity of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, the surfactant group was at a significant advantage (adjusted Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel X2 = 10.72, P < .001 and X2 = 4.43, P = .036, respectively). The proportion of neonates surviving without intracranial hemorrhage and/or bronchopulmonary dysplasia was 63% in the surfactant group vs 26% in the control group (P = .0004); as for the smallest neonates, it was 58% in the surfactant group vs 4% in the control group (P = .0002). There were no differences between the groups with respect to the frequency of patent ductus arteriosus (46% vs 37%), pulmonary hemorrhage (6% vs 7%), necrotizing enterocolitis (0% vs 2%), sepsis (4% vs 2%), retinopathy of prematurity (13% vs 22%), or death (15% vs 22%). It is concluded that treatment with the single-dose surfactant regimen used in this study reduces the severity of respiratory distress during the 48 hours after treatment and decreases the major pulmonary morbidity and intracranial hemorrhage in premature neonates with RDS. Further studies are needed to determine whether (1) treatment at birth or as soon as after RDS is diagnosed and (2) the use of multiple dose of this surfactant would result in any additional benefits.

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