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Long term follow-up of very low birthweight infants from a neonatal volume versus pressure mechanical ventilation trial


Background: A previous randomised trial showed volume controlled ventilation (VCV) was efficacious in ventilating very preterm and extremely low birthweight babies.

Objective: To compare long term survival, pulmonary morbidities and gross neurodevelopmental outcomes of babies randomised to either VCV or pressure limited ventilation (PLV) for treatment of respiratory distress syndrome.

Design/Methods: Masked evaluation of health status, including frequency of respiratory illness, use of medications, hospital admissions, and gross neurodevelopmental status were obtained using a structured parental questionnaire and verification from medical records.

Results: 94 of 109 children (86%) survived to discharge. Three died after discharge (2 VCV, 1 PLV). Modality of ventilation did not affect overall mortality; seven VCV children died (12%) versus 11 PLV (21%) (OR 0.5 (95% CI 0.1 to 1.4), p = 0.13). Respiratory abnormalities were present in 32 (37%), and 26 (30%) required hospital readmission. There was no significant difference in readmission rates between the two groups: VC 13/45 (29%) and PLV 19/40 (47%) (OR 0.4 (0.1 to 1.1), p = 0.07). Modality of ventilation did not affect frequency of respiratory illness: VC 12 (27%) and PLV 14 (35%) (OR 0.46 (0.1 to 1.1), p = 0.09). However, significantly fewer VCV children (13%, n = 6) compared to PLV children (32%, n = 13) required treatment with inhaled steroids/bronchodilators (OR 0.3 (0.1 to 0.9), p = 0.04). Nine children had severe neurodevelopmental disability (cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness) (9.8%; 3 VCV, 6 PLV 6) (OR 0.4 (0.09 to 1.7)).

Conclusions: The efficacy of VCV in very preterm and low birth babies appears to be maintained on longer term evaluation.

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