Early Bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure: Investigating Interprofessional Best Practices for the NICU Team

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Abstract

Premature neonates delivered <32 completed weeks gestation are unprepared to handle the physiologic demands of extrauterine life. Within the respiratory system, alveolar instability and collapse can cause decreased functional residual capacity, impaired oxygenation, and hypoxemia leading to respiratory distress syndrome. Supportive measures are indicated immediately after birth to establish physiologic stability including bubble continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation. CPAP is a noninvasive, gentle mode of ventilation that can mitigate the effects of lung immaturity, but prolonged use can increase the risk for nasal breakdown. Strategies to mitigate this risk must be infused as best practices in the NICU environment. The purpose of this article is to propose an evidence-based best practice care bundle for the early initiation of CPAP in the delivery room and associated skin barrier protection strategies for premature neonates <32 weeks gestation and weighing <1,500 g.

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