Caffeine to improve breathing effort of preterm infants at birth: A randomized controlled trial

Janneke Dekker, Stuart B. Hooper, Jeroen J van Vonderen, Ruben S G M Witlox, Enrico Lopriore, Arjan B. Te Pas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


BackgroundCaffeine promotes spontaneous breathing by antagonizing adenosine. We assessed the direct effect of caffeine on respiratory effort in preterm infants at birth.MethodsThirty infants of 24-30 weeks of gestation were randomized for receiving caffeine directly after birth in the delivery room (caffeine DR group) or later in the neonatal intensive care unit (control group). Primary outcome was respiratory effort, expressed as minute volume, tidal volumes, respiratory rate, rate of rise to maximum tidal volume, and recruitment breaths at 7-9 min after birth.ResultsAfter correction for gestational age, minute volumes ((mean±SD; 189±74 vs. 162±70 ml/kg/min; P<0.05) and tidal volumes ((median (interquartile range (IQR)) 5.2 (3.9-6.4) vs. 4.4 (3.0-5.6) ml/kg) were significantly greater in the caffeine DR group. Although respiratory rates were similar ((mean±SD) 35±10 vs. 33±10), RoR increased significantly ((median (IQR) 14.3 (11.2-19.8) vs. 11.2 (7.9-15.2) ml/kg/s), and more recruitment breaths were observed (13 vs. 9%).ConclusionCaffeine increases respiratory effort in preterm infants at birth, but the effect on clinical outcomes needs further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-296
Number of pages7
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Preterm birth
  • Breathing

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