High-Flow Nasal Cannula versus Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure for Primary Respiratory Support in Preterm Infants with Respiratory Distress: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Murki et al, Neonatology 2018 


Background:Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP) is the standard noninvasive respiratory support for newborns with respiratory distress. Evidence for high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) as an alternative mode of respiratory support is inconclusive.

Objective: The aim of this work was to evaluate whether HFNC is not inferior to nCPAP in reducing the need for higher respiratory support in the first 72 h of life when applied as a noninvasive respiratory support mode for preterm neonates with respiratory distress. 

Methods: Preterm infants (gestation ≥28 weeks and birth weight ≥1,000 g) with respiratory distress were randomized to either HFNC or nCPAP in a non-inferiority trial. Failure of the support mode in the first 72 h after birth was the primary outcome. Infants failing HFNC were rescued either with nCPAP or mechanical ventilation, and those failing nCPAP received mechanical ventilation.

Conclusions: When comparing HFNC to nCPAP as a primary noninvasive respiratory support in preterm infants with respiratory distress, HFNC is inferior to nCPAP in avoiding the need for a higher mode of respiratory support in the first 72 h of life.