Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2011 May; 66(5): 823-827.

Copyright © 2011 Hospital das Clínicas da FMUSP

Initial respiratory management in preterm infants and bronchopulmonary dysplasia

Ester Sanz López , Elena Maderuelo Rodríguez , Cristina Ramos Navarro , Manuel Sánchez-Luna

Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón-Neonatology, Madrid, Spain.

E-mail: Tel.: 915290018

received December 22, 2010; revised January 19, 2011; accepted February 28, 2011.



Ventilator injury has been implicated in the pathogenesis of bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Avoiding invasive ventilation could reduce lung injury, and early respiratory management may affect pulmonary outcomes.


To analyze the effect of initial respiratory support on survival without bronchopulmonary dysplasia at a gestational age of 36 weeks.


A prospective 3-year observational study. Preterm infants of <32 weeks gestational age were classified into 4 groups according to the support needed during the first 2 hours of life: room air, nasal continuous positive airway pressure, intubation/surfactant/extubation and prolonged mechanical ventilation (defined as needing mechanical ventilation for more than 2 hours).


Of the 329 eligible patients, a total of 49% did not need intubation, and 68.4% did not require prolonged mechanical ventilation. At a gestational age of 26 weeks, there was a significant correlation between survival without bronchopulmonary dysplasia and initial respiratory support. Preterm infants requiring mechanical ventilation showed a higher risk of death and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. After controlling for gestational age, antenatal corticosteroid use, maternal preeclampsia and chorioamnionitis, the survival rate without bronchopulmonary dysplasia remained significantly lower in the mechanically ventilated group.


In our population, the need for more than 2 hours of mechanical ventilation predicted the development of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in preterm infants with a gestational age >26 weeks (sensitivity = 89.5% and specificity = 67%). The need for prolonged mechanical ventilation could be an early marker for the development of bronchopulmonary dysplasia. This finding could help identify a target population with a high risk of chronic lung disease. Future research is needed to determine other strategies to prevent bronchopulmonary dysplasia in this high-risk group of patients.

Keywords: Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia, Preterm, Nasal CPAP, Surfactant, Initial, Respiratory Support

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