A prospective randomized trial was performed in 58 neonates comparing nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) vs oxyhood following extubation of neonates weighing less than 1 kg. All neonates had been ventilated for the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome for at least 24 hours and weighed less than 1 kg at the time of extubation. Clinical criteria for elective extubation included improving pulmonary status, fraction of inspired oxygen (FIO2) ≤ 0.35, mean airway pressure ≤ 7 cm H2O, ventilator rate ≤ 20 breaths per minute, and weight at least 80% of birth weight. Informed consent was obtained and neonates were randomized to NCPAP or oxyhood following extubation. Success was defined as remaining free of additional ventilatory support for at least 5 days. Failure criteria included FIO2≥ 0.60 to maintain pulse oximetry ≥ 93%, PaCO2 ≥60 mm Hg, pH ≤ 7.23, or moderate to severe apnea. Results demonstrate that 22 (76%) of 29 neonates were successfully extubated to NCPAP while only 6 (21%) of 29 were successfully extubated to oxyhood (P < .0001). There were no differences in baseline characteristics between the two groups. Of the 23 neonates who failed oxyhood, 21 were then given a trial of NCPAP and 58% (12/21) remained extubated. Data indicate that using selected clinical criteria for elective extubation of neonates weighing less than 1 kg, NCPAP facilitates successful extubation.

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