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Respiratory management of the preterm newborn in the delivery room

Authors Abdel-Hady H, Nasef

Received 13 March 2012

Accepted for publication 3 April 2012

Published 28 May 2012 Volume 2012:2 Pages 39—53


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Hesham Abdel-Hady, Nehad Nasef
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Mansoura University Children's Hospital, Mansoura, Egypt

Abstract: The survival of preterm infants has improved significantly during the past several decades. However, bronchopulmonary dysplasia remains a major morbidity. Preterm infants have both structural and functional lung immaturity compared with term infants, making them more likely to require resuscitation and more vulnerable to developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Interventions in the delivery room may affect short-term and long-term outcomes for preterm infants. The paradigm of resuscitation of preterm infants has been changing over the past decade from being interventional and invasive to be observational and gentle. Recent developments in respiratory management of preterm infants in the delivery room include oxygen supplementation and monitoring, alveolar recruitment techniques, noninvasive ventilation, new surfactant preparations, and new techniques for administration of surfactant. Providing nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) rather than intubating has been identified as a potentially better practice. Experimental studies have demonstrated that early application of nasal CPAP is protective for the preterm lung and brain compared with mechanical ventilation. Several observational studies have suggested that early nasal CPAP and avoiding intubation leads to reduced oxygen requirements, intubation rates, duration of mechanical ventilation, and may decrease rates of bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Multicenter, randomized controlled trials support the use of nasal CPAP as a primary strategy in preterm babies with respiratory distress syndrome. This approach leads to a reduction in the number of infants who are intubated and given surfactant without an impact on bronchopulmonary dysplasia rates. On the other hand, half of the infants enrolled in these studies failed nasal CPAP treatment. New techniques for surfactant administration include INSURE ("intubate give surfactant and extubate"), administration through a laryngeal mask airway, nebulized surfactant administration, and minimally invasive surfactant therapy.

Keywords: continuous positive airway pressure, lung injury, oxygen, resuscitation, surfactants

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