Rescue high frequency oscillatory ventilation versus conventional ventilation for pulmonary dysfunction in preterm infants

  • Bhuta T
  • Henderson-Smart D
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BACKGROUND: This section is under preparation and will be included in the next issue. OBJECTIVES: Experimental studies suggest that high frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV) reduces pulmonary injury during mechanical ventilation. The main objective of this review is to test the hypothesis that by use of HFOV as compared to conventional ventilation (CV) it may be possible to rescue preterm infants with very severe lung disease and so at high risk of pulmonary air leak (PAL), without adverse effects. SEARCH STRATEGY: A search was carried out for all randomized controlled trials from MEDLINE using the MeSH and text terms, "high frequency ventilation", "high frequency oscillatory ventilation", " oscillatory ventilation" from the years 1980 to 1997. EMBASE, the Oxford Database of Perinatal Trials and trials identified by the Neonatal Review Group of the Cochrane Collaboration were also reviewed. Information was also sought from experts in the field, cross references from studies and proceedings of recent meetings. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomized controlled trials of HFOV vs CV as rescue therapy in preterm infants with severe pulmonary dysfunction. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: The standard review method of the Neonatal Review Group was used. This includes independent quality assessment and data extraction by the second author. Relative risk (RR), risk difference (RD) and number needed to treat (NNT) were used. MAIN RESULTS: Only one trial was found and this showed a reduction in any new pulmonary air leak (PAL) [RR 0.73 (0.55,0.96), RD -0.174 (-0.321,-0.027)]. The number of infants that need to be treated (NNT) to prevent one infant having any PAL is six (95% CI 3, 37). There is no difference in the rate of PIE or of gross pulmonary air leak, such as pneumomediastinum or pneumothorax. Mortality and the use of IPPV at 30 days was similar in the HFOV and CV groups. The rate of intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) of any grade is increased in infants treated with HFOV, RR 1.77 (1.06,2.96), RD 0.156 (0.020, 0. 291). Thus for every six infants (95% CI 3, 50) given rescue HFOV, one IVH of any grade is caused. There is a stronger but non-significant trend towards an increase in the more severe grades 3 or 4 IVH. REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: There is insufficient information on the use of rescue HFOV to make recommendations for practice. The small amount of data that exists suggest that harm might outweigh any benefit. Any future use of HFOV as rescue therapy for preterm infants with severe RDS should be within randomized controlled trials and address important outcomes such as longer term pulmonary and neurological function.




Bhuta, T., & Henderson-Smart, D. J. (1998). Rescue high frequency oscillatory ventilation versus conventional ventilation for pulmonary dysfunction in preterm infants. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

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