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Glaser K, Wright CJ. Indications for and Risks of Noninvasive Respiratory Support. Neonatology. 2021;118(2):235-243. doi: 10.1159/000515818. Epub 2021 Apr 26.

Within the last decades, therapeutic advances have significantly improved the survival of extremely preterm infants. In contrast, the incidence of major neonatal morbidities, including bronchopulmonary dysplasia, has not declined. Given the well-established relationship between exposure to invasive mechanical ventilation and neonatal lung injury, neonatologists have sought for effective strategies of noninvasive respiratory support in high-risk infants. Continuous positive airway pressure has replaced invasive mechanical ventilation for the initial stabilization and the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome. Today, noninvasive respiratory support has been adopted even in the tiniest babies with the highest risk of lung injury. Moreover, different modes of noninvasive respiratory support supplemented by a number of adjunctive measures and rescue strategies have entered clinical practice with the goal of preventing intubation or reintubation. However, does this unquestionably important paradigm shift to strategies focused on noninvasive support lull us into a false sense of security? Can we do better in (i) identifying those very immature preterm infants best equipped for noninvasive stabilization, can we improve (ii) determinants of failure of noninvasive respiratory support in the individual infant and underlying etiology, and can we enhance (iii) success of noninvasive respiratory support and (iv) better prevent ultimate harm to the developing lung? With increased survival of infants at the highest risk of developing lung injury and an unchanging burden of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, we should question indiscriminate use of noninvasive respiratory support and address the above issues.

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