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To compare neurally adjusted ventilatory assist ventilation with pressure-support ventilation.Prospective, crossover comparison study.Tertiary care pediatric and neonatal intensive care unit.Sixteen ventilated infants and children: mean age = 9.7 months (range = 2 days-4 yrs) and mean weight = 6.2 kg (range = 2.4-13.7kg).A modified nasogastric tube was inserted and correct positioning was confirmed. Patients were ventilated in pressure-support mode with a pneumatic trigger for a 30-min period and then in neurally adjusted ventilatory assist mode for up to 4 hrs.Data collected for comparison included activating trigger (neural vs. pneumatic), peak and mean airway pressures, expired minute and tidal volumes, heart rate, respiratory rate, pulse oximetry, end-tidal CO2 and arterial blood gases. Synchrony was improved in neurally adjusted ventilatory assist mode with 65% (±21%) of breaths triggered neurally vs. 35% pneumatically (p < .001) and 85% (±8%) of breaths cycled-off neurally vs. 15% pneumatically (p = .0001). The peak airway pressure in neurally adjusted ventilatory assist mode was significantly lower than in pressure-support mode with a 28% decrease in pressure after 30 mins (p = .003) and 32% decrease after 3 hrs (p < .001). Mean airway pressure was reduced by 11% at 30 mins (p = .13) and 9% at 3 hrs (p = .31) in neurally adjusted ventilatory assist mode although this did not reach statistical significance. Patient hemodynamics and gas exchange remained stable for the study period. No adverse patient events or device effects were noted.In a neonatal and pediatric intensive care unit population, ventilation in neurally adjusted ventilatory assist mode was associated with improved patient-ventilator synchrony and lower peak airway pressure when compared with pressure-support ventilation with a pneumatic trigger. Ventilating patients in this new mode seem to be safe and well tolerated.