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De Luca D, Autilio C, Pezza L, Shankar-Aguilera S, Tingay DG, Carnielli VP. Personalized Medicine for the Management of RDS in Preterm Neonates. Neonatology. 2021;118(2):127-138.

Continuous positive airway pressure and surfactant represent the first- and second-line treatment for respiratory distress syndrome in preterm neonates, as European and American guidelines, since 2013 and 2014, respectively, started to recommend surfactant replacement only when continuous positive airway pressure fails. These recommendations, however, are not personalized to the individual physiopathology. Simple clinical algorithms may have improved the diffusion of neonatal care, but complex medical issues can hardly be addressed with simple solutions. The treatment of respiratory distress syndrome is a complex matter and can be only optimized with personalization. We performed a review of tools to individualize the management of respiratory distress syndrome based on physiopathology and actual patients’ need, according to precision medicine principles. Advanced oxygenation metrics, lung ultrasound, electrical impedance tomography, and both quantitative and qualitative surfactant assays were examined. When these techniques were investigated with diagnostic accuracy studies, reliability measures have been meta-analysed. Amongst all these tools, quantitative lung ultrasound seems the more developed for the widespread use and has a higher diagnostic accuracy (meta-analytical AUC = 0.952 [95% CI: 0.951-0.953]). Surfactant adsorption (AUC = 0.840 [95% CI: 0.824-0.856]) and stable microbubble test (AUC = 0.800 [95% CI: 0.788-0.812]) also have good reliability, but need further industrial development. We advocate for a more accurate characterization and a personalized approach of respiratory distress syndrome. With the above-described currently available tools, it should be possible to personalize the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome according to physiopathology.

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