BACKGROUND: This study investigates trends in methods of surfactant administration and early respiratory management in neonatal intensive care units [NICU] in New South Wales [NSW] and the Australian Capital Territory [ACT] in 2015 and evaluate whether differences in practice translate to variances in short term outcomes.
METHODS: Surveys were sent to NICUs in NSW and ACT to ascertain their practice of surfactant administration and respiratory management. A retrospective data analysis with data from the NICUS database from 01/01/2013-30/06/2015 was performed. Included were all patients that received Surfactant, were inborn, without major malformation, ≥24 weeks gestational age [GA] and birthweight ≥500 g. Major respiratory outcome measures were time ventilated, air leak, oxygen requirement at 36 weeks corrected gestational age [cGA], home oxygen therapy after discharge and retinopathy of prematurity [ROP]. Along with this data demographic and morbidity data was also obtained for comparison [mortality, necrotizing enterocolitis [NEC], persistent ductus arteriosus [PDA], intraventricular hemorrhage [IVH].
RESULTS: 1453 patients met inclusion criteria. Patient data comparing major respiratory outcomes showed patients receiving less invasive Surfactant therapy and respiratory management spent longer time on CPAP [559 vs. 407 hrs, p = 0.01] and in the older gestation subgroups less time on mechanical ventilation [18 vs. 50 hrs p = <0.001] and were discharged earlier [48 vs. 54 days, p = 0.03]. There was however, higher rates of oxygen requirement at 36 weeks cGA [33 vs. 26.3% p = 0.01] and a higher proportion of home oxygen in this patient group [11.3 vs. 7.1% p = 0.03]. Major morbidity outcome data showed no significant differences.
CONCLUSIONS: Less invasive Surfactant therapy and gentle early respiratory management should be considered as a viable alternative to established methods of surfactant administration and ventilation.
Methods of surfactant administration and early ventilation in neonatal intensive care units in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory