Birthweight, early passive respiratory system mechanics, and ventilator requirements as predictors of outcome in premature infants with respiratory failure
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Early respiratory mechanics have been reported to predict outcome in newborns with respiratory failure. However, it remains unknown whether measurements of pulmonary function add significantly to the predictive value of more readily available variables The present study was designed to answer this question. Passive respiratory system mechanics were measured by an airway occlusion technique in 104 ventilator-dependent premature infants between 6 and 48 hours of life and corrected for infant size. A ventilation index [FiO2 x mean airway pressure (MAP)] was calculated at the time of pulmonary function testing. Poor outcome was defined as death from respiratory failure or need for supplemental oxygen at 28 days. Stepwise logistic function regression examined whether ventilation index and respiratory mechanics added predictive power over and above birthweight. Five infants died, and 45 patients required supplemental oxygen at 28 days. Birthweight was a strong predictor and would have entered the logistic model first in any case. Ventilation index added significantly to the predictive model (P = 0.038). Respiratory system conductance (P = 0.15) and compliance (P = 0.93) entered on the third and last step, respectively. We conclude that in premature infants with respiratory failure, birthweight is a strong predictor of outcome. Early ventilator requirements but not respiratory system mechanics, add significantly to this predictive model.
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