Survey of neonatal respiratory support strategies


Anne Greenough, The Newborn Centre supported by WellChild, 4th Floor Golden Jubilee Wing, King's College Hospital, London SE5 9PJ, UK. Tel: +44 (0)20 3299 3037 | Fax: +44 (0)20 3299 8284 | Email:


Aim: To survey current practice regarding neonatal respiratory support strategies to determine whether it reflected evidence from randomised trials.

Methods: A questionnaire (in Supplementary Material online) survey of all U.K. neonatal units was undertaken to determine what modes of ventilation, types of endotracheal tube, lung function monitoring and oxygen saturation levels were used.

Results: There was an 80% response rate. Most (73%) units used in prematurely born infants (in the first 24 h) the intermittent positive pressure ventilation, and other respiratory modes included: CPAP (2%), triggered ventilation with or without volume guarantee (22%) and high frequency oscillation (2%). Only 15% of units used assist control mode for weaning; the preferred weaning mode was synchronous intermittent mandatory ventilation (73%). Few units used shouldered endotracheal tubes (3%) or lung function measurements (25%) to aid choice of ventilator settings. Oxygen saturation levels from 80% to 98% were used, levels greater or equal to 95% were used by 11% of units for infants with acute respiratory disease but by 34% of units for BPD infants (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Many practitioners do not base their choice of neonatal respiratory support strategies on the results of large randomised trials; more effective methods are required to ensure evidence-based practice.