Efficacy of Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure versus Heated Humidified High-Flow Nasal Cannula as a Primary Mode of Respiratory Support in Preterm Infants with RDS


  • Qaiser Zaman PIMS
  • Syeda Shireen Gul Head of Department of Neonatology, children Hospital , Pakistan Insitute of Medical Science, Islamabad
  • Muhammad Hayat Khan Specialist Paediatrics, Children Hospital, PIMS,
  • Sehrish Noor Medical Officer, Department of Peadiatrics, District Health Hospital, Haripur




Respiratory distress syndrome, respiratory support, nasal continuous positive airway pressure, heated humidified high-flow nasal cannula


Objective: To determine the efficacy of nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) versus heated humidified high-flow nasal cannula (HHHFNC) as a primary mode of respiratory support in preterm infants with respiratory distress.

Methodology: This randomized controlled trial study was conducted at in-patient department of neonatology (Nursery & NICU) of Pakistan Insitute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) from July 2020 to Dec 2020. A total of 280 neonates randomly divided (140 in each study group) of both genders, with gestational age between 28-34 weeks and having mild-to-moderate respiratory distress within 1st 6 hours of birth requiring non-invasive ventilation were enrolled. Neonates in NCPAP Group (n=140) were given NCPAP whereas neonates in HHHFNC Group (n=140) were given HHHFNC. The efficacy of both groups were compared on the basis of treatment failure within 1st 3 days, total duration (hours) of non-invasive ventilator (NIV) required and total duration (hours) of supplementary oxygen required.

Results: Overall, mean gestational age was noted to be 30.0+6.4 weeks. There were 144 (51.4%) neonates with birth weight between 1 to 1.4 kg, 90 (32.1%) between 1.5 to 1.9 kg and 46 (16.4%0 between 2.0 to 2.4 kg. Treatment failure was noted in 67 (47.6%) neonates in NCAP group while HHHFNC group reported 73 (52.4%) neonates with treatment failure (p=0.4733). No significant difference was observed in mean total duration of NIV support required (p=0.2598) or mean total duration of supplementary oxygen (p=0.1946) in between study groups.

Conclusion: HHHFNC had similar efficacy when compared to NCPAP among neonates with RDS. In comparison to NCPAP, HHHFNC could be a simple, well-tolerated and effective alternative in terms of respiratory support. No major difference in terms of complication was observed between both treatment approaches.






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