OBJECTIVES: In spontaneously breathing preterm infants with RDS, to determine if continuous distending pressure (CDP) reduces the need for IPPV and associated morbidity without adverse effects.
SEARCH STRATEGY: The standard search strategy of the Neonatal Review group was used. This included searches of the Oxford Database of Perinatal Trials, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, MEDLINE (1966-Jan. 2000), previous reviews including cross references, abstracts, conference and symposia proceedings, expert informants, journal hand searching mainly in the English language.
SELECTION CRITERIA: All trials using random or quasi-random patient allocation of newborn infants with RDS were eligible. Interventions were continuous distending pressure including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) by mask, nasal prong, nasopharyngeal tube, or endotracheal tube, or continuous negative pressure (CNP) via a chamber enclosing the thorax and lower body, compared with standard care.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Standard methods of the Cochrane Collaboration and its Neonatal Review Group, including independent assessment of trial quality and extraction of data by each author, were used.
MAIN RESULTS: CDP is associated with a lower rate of failed treatment (death or use of assisted ventilation), overall mortality, and mortality in infants with birthweights above 1500 g. The use of CDP is associated with an increased rate of pneumothorax.
REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: In preterm infants with RDS the application of CDP either as CPAP or CNP is associated with some benefits in terms of reduced respiratory failure and reduced mortality. CDP is associated with an increased rate of pneumothorax. The applicability of these results to current practice is difficult to assess, given the outdated methods to administer CDP, low use of antenatal corticosteroids, non-availability of surfactant and the intensive care setting of the 1970s when these trials were done. Where resources are limited, such as in developing countries, CPAP for RDS may have a clinical role. Further research is required to determine the best mode of administration and its role in modern intensive care settings