OBJECTIVE. Our objective was to determine whether continuous positive airway pressure therapy would safely reduce the need for up-transfer of infants with respiratory distress from nontertiary centers. METHODS. We randomly assigned 300 infants at >30 weeks of gestation with respiratory distress to receive either Hudson prong bubble continuous positive airway pressure therapy or headbox oxygen treatment (standard care). The primary end point was "up-transfer or treatment failure." Secondary end points included death, length of nursery stay, time receiving oxygen therapy, cost of care, and other measures of morbidity. RESULTS. Of 151 infants who received continuous positive airway pressure therapy, 35 either were up-transferred or experienced treatment failure, as did 60 of the 149 infants given headbox oxygen treatment. There was no difference in the length of stay or the duration of oxygen treatment. For every 6 infants treated with continuous positive airway pressure therapy, there was an estimated cost saving of $10 000. Pneumothorax was identified for 14 infants in the continuous positive airway pressure group and 5 in the headbox group. There was no difference in any other measure of morbidity or death. CONCLUSIONS. Hudson prong bubble continuous positive airway pressure therapy reduces the need for up-transfer of infants with respiratory distress in nontertiary centers. There is a clinically relevant but not statistically significant increase in the risk of pneumothorax. There are significant benefits associated with continuous positive airway pressure use in larger nontertiary centers.
Bibliographical noteErratum can be found in Pediatrics, Volume 121(6), 1301, http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2008-1107
- continuous positive airway pressure
- respiratory insufficiency
- neonatal intensive care
- oxygen inhalation therapy
- transportation of patients