Objective: To identify predictors and outcomes of early intubation in preterm infants with respiratory distress, and predictors of need for brief respiratory support (≤1 day). Study design: Secondary analysis of data from a randomized trial comparing nasal high-flow with continuous positive airway pressure as primary respiratory support in preterm infants born at 28-36 weeks of gestation. Intubation was assessed within 72 hours of randomization. Results: There were 564 included infants with a mean (SD) gestational age of 32.0 (2.2) weeks and birth weight 1744 (589) g; 76 infants (13.5%) received early intubation. On multivariable analysis, lower gestational age and higher pre-randomization fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO 2) predicted intubation. A test based on gestational age of <30 weeks and an FiO 2 of ≥0.30 produced a likelihood ratio of 9.1. Intubation was associated with prolonged duration of respiratory support and supplemental oxygen, with pneumothorax and nasal trauma, and in infants born at <32 weeks of gestational, with bronchopulmonary dysplasia and patent ductus arteriosus requiring treatment. Greater gestational age and lower FiO 2 predicted the need for ≤1 day of respiratory support. A test based on a gestational age of ≥34 weeks and an FiO 2 of 0.21 produced a likelihood ratio of 4.7. Conclusions: In preterm infants 28-36 week of gestation receiving primary noninvasive respiratory support, lower gestational age, and higher FiO 2 predicted need for intubation within 72 hours. Intubation was associated with adverse respiratory outcomes. Greater gestational age and lower FiO 2 predicted need for ≤1 day of respiratory support. It may be reasonable to defer the use of respiratory support in more mature infants with low FiO 2 requirements. Trial registration Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12613000303741.
- continuous positive airway pressure
- nasal high flow