Importance: Establishing stable breathing is a key event for preterm infants after birth. Delivery of pressure-stable continuous positive airway pressure and avoiding face mask use could be of importance in the delivery room.
Objective: To determine whether using a new respiratory support system with low imposed work of breathing and short binasal prongs decreases delivery room intubations or death compared with a standard T-piece system with a face mask.
Design, setting, and participants: In this unblinded randomized clinical trial, mothers threatening preterm delivery before week 28 of gestation were screened. A total of 365 mothers were enrolled, and 250 infants were randomized before birth and 246 liveborn infants were treated. The trial was conducted in 7 neonatal intensive care units in 5 European countries from March 2016 to May 2020. The follow-up period was 72 hours after intervention.
Interventions: Infants were randomized to either the new respiratory support system with short binasal prongs (n = 124 infants) or the standard T-piece system with face mask (n = 122 infants). The intervention was providing continuous positive airway pressure for 10 to 30 minutes and positive pressure ventilation, if needed, with the randomized system.
Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome was delivery room intubation or death within 30 minutes of birth. Secondary outcomes included respiratory and safety variables.
Results: Of 246 liveborn infants treated, the mean (SD) gestational age was 25.9 (1.3) weeks, and 127 (51.6%) were female. A total of 41 infants (33.1%) receiving the new respiratory support system were intubated or died in the delivery room compared with 55 infants (45.1%) receiving standard care. The adjusted odds ratio was statistically significant after adjusting for stratification variables (adjusted odds ratio, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.30-0.94; P = .03). No significant differences were seen in secondary outcomes or safety variables.
Conclusions and relevance: In this study, using the new respiratory support system reduced delivery room intubation in extremely preterm infants. Stabilizing preterm infants with a system that has low imposed work of breathing and binasal prongs as interface is safe and feasible.