Effect of Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure on Infants With Meconium Aspiration Syndrome: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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ImportanceNasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) as a primary respiratory therapy in meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) has not been studied extensively. Nasal continuous positive airway pressure, when applied in newborns with MAS, may resolve atelectasis by sufficiently expanding partially obstructed small airways and stabilizing the collapsing terminal airways to enhance oxygen exchange.ObjectiveTo compare NCPAP vs standard care in neonates with moderate to severe respiratory failure due to MAS in reducing the need for invasive ventilation.Design, Settings, and ParticipantsThis multicenter open-label, parallel-group (1:1 ratio) randomized clinical trial was conducted from August 5, 2014, to May 26, 2016. Data were collected from 3 tertiary care neonatal intensive care units. All infants admitted with respiratory distress, defined as Downe score greater than 4 and peripheral capillary oxygen saturation less than 90%, were assessed for study eligibility if the chest radiograph was suggestive of MAS and they met the other inclusion criteria: gestation longer than 35 weeks, a birth weight greater than 2000 g, and born through meconium-stained amniotic fluid.InterventionsInfants were randomly assigned to either NCPAP or standard care (5-10 L/min hood oxygen).Main Outcomes and MeasuresThe primary outcome was the need for mechanical ventilation in the first 7 days of life.ResultsAfter excluding 14 infants, 67 infants were randomized to bubble NCPAP and 68 infants to standard care. Baseline characteristics were similar between the 2 groups. Infants randomized to the bubble NCPAP group needed mechanical ventilation less frequently in the first 7 days of life compared with standard care (2 [3.0%] vs 17 [25.0%]); odds ratio, 0.09; 95% CI, 0.02-0.43; P = .002). The need for surfactant (3 [4.5%] vs 11 [16.2%]; odds ratio, 0.24; 95% CI, 0.05-0.87) and culture-positive sepsis (4 [6.0%] vs 13 [19.0%]; odds ratio, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.09-0.93) were higher in the standard care group. There was an increased duration of oxygen therapy (median [interquartile range], 45.5 [28.0-78.3] vs 26 [20.0-48.0] hours; P = .001) in the standard care group. In the NCPAP group vs standard care group, incidence of persistent pulmonary hypertension (9 [13%] vs 19 [28%]; odds ratio, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.17-1.01) and duration of hospital stay (median [interquartile range], 5.0 [4.0-8.8] vs 4.0 [4.0-6.0] days; P = .14) were similar.Conclusions and RelevanceBubble NCPAP in comparison with standard care for infants with MAS reduces the need for mechanical ventilation in the first 7 days of life.Trial RegistrationClinical Trial Registry, India Identifier: CTRI/2015/03/005631

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