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High frequency oscillation for preterm infants with severe respiratory failure.
  1. V Chan,
  2. A Greenough,
  3. H R Gamsu
  1. Department of Child Health, King's College Hospital, London.


High frequency oscillation (HFO) as rescue treatment for preterm infants with severe respiratory failure has been assessed and prognostic factors identified. Thirty six infants with a median gestational age of 27 weeks were studied. Immediately before transfer to HFO, the infants were receiving an inspired oxygen concentration of > or = 85% and/or a mean airway pressure of > or = 12 cm H2O and had a median alveolar-arterial oxygen gradient (A-aDO2) of 73.28 kPa (range 49.34-89.91). Seventeen infants subsequently died. Comparison of those 17 with the remaining 19 infants demonstrated that respiratory distress syndrome and persistent fetal circulation were associated with a significantly better outcome than pulmonary airleak. The A-aDO2 after two and six hours on HFO was significantly higher in those infants who survived compared with those who died. We conclude that a diagnosis of pulmonary airleak and failure to show early improvement in respiratory status indicate a poor prognosis when HFO is used as rescue treatment.

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