Predicting Nasal High-Flow Treatment Success in Newborn Infants with Respiratory Distress Cared for in Nontertiary Hospitals

Megan McKimmie-Doherty, Gaston R.B. Arnolda, Adam G. Buckmaster, Louise S. Owen, Kate A. Hodgson, Ian M.R. Wright, Calum T. Roberts, Peter G. Davis, Brett J. Manley, for the HUNTER Trial Investigators

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Objective: To evaluate demographic and clinical variables as predictors of nasal high-flow treatment success in newborn infants with respiratory distress cared for in Australian nontertiary special care nurseries. Study design: A secondary analysis of the HUNTER trial, a multicenter, randomized controlled trial evaluating nasal high-flow as primary respiratory support for newborn infants with respiratory distress who were born ≥31 weeks of gestation and with birth weight ≥1200 g, and cared for in Australian nontertiary special care nurseries. Treatment success within 72 hours after randomization to nasal high-flow was determined using objective criteria. Univariable screening and multivariable analysis was used to determine predictors of nasal high-flow treatment success. Results: Infants (n = 363) randomized to nasal high-flow in HUNTER were included in the analysis; the mean gestational age was 36.9 ± 2.7 weeks and birth weight 2928 ± 782 g. Of these infants, 290 (80%) experienced nasal high-flow treatment success. On multivariable analysis, nasal high-flow treatment success was predicted by higher gestational age and lower fraction of inspired oxygen immediately before randomization, but not strongly. The final model was found to have an area under the curve of 0.65, which after adjustment for optimism was found to be 0.63 (95% CI, 0.57-0.70). Conclusions: Gestational age and supplemental oxygen requirement may be used to guide decisions regarding the most appropriate initial respiratory support for newborn infants in nontertiary special care nurseries. Further prospective research is required to better identify which infants are most likely to be successfully treated with nasal high-flow. Trial registration: ACTRN12614001203640.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-141.e1
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Pediatrics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • continuous positive airway pressure
  • respiratory distress syndrome
  • special care nursery
  • treatment failure

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