AIMS--To compare treatment regimens of two widely used natural surfactant preparations Curosurf and Survanta in respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). METHODS--The effects of the two treatment regimens on gas exchange, ventilatory requirements, and 28 day outcome in infants with RDS were compared. Seventy five preterm infants (birth weight 700-1500 g) with RDS requiring artificial ventilation with an FIO2 of > or = 0.4, were randomly selected at 1-24 hours of age. One group received an initial dose of Curosurf (200 mg/kg); the other group Survanta (100 mg/kg). Patients who remained dependent on artificial ventilation with an FIO2 of > or = 0.3 received up to two additional doses of Curosurf (each of 100 mg/kg) after 12 and 24 hours or up to three additional doses of Survanta (each of 100 mg/kg) between six and 48 hours after the initial dose. RESULTS--There was a rapid improvement in oxygenation and ventilatory requirements were reduced in both groups. However, infants treated with Curosurf had a higher arterial:alveolar oxygen tension ratio and required a lower peak inspiratory pressure and mean airway pressure at several time points within 24 hours of randomisation (p < 0.05-0.001). The incidences of pneumothorax in the Curosurf and Survanta groups were 6% and 12.5%, respectively; the corresponding figures for grades 3-4 intracerebral haemorrhage were 3% and 12.5%, respectively. Mortality was 3% in the Curosurf group and 12.5% in the Survanta group. However, these differences did not reach significance. CONCLUSION--The Curosurf treatment regimen resulted in a more rapid improvement in oxygenation than Survanta and reduced ventilatory requirements up to 24 hours after start of treatment. This was associated with a trend towards reduced incidence of serious pulmonary and non-pulmonary complications.
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