European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 166, Issue 5, pp 473–483 | Cite as

Long-term outcome of preterm infants treated with nasal continuous positive airway pressure

  • Pia Wintermark
  • Jean-François Tolsa
  • Guy Van Melle
  • Margarita Forcada-Guex
  • Adrien C. Moessinger
Original Paper


This study’s aim was to assess neurodevelopmental and growth outcome until the age of 4 years of premature infants placed on early nCPAP, in the setting of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and follow-up program of the Division of Neonatology of the Department of Pediatrics of the University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland. All consecutive inborn infants weighing <1500 g or <32 weeks of gestational age admitted to the NICU during two periods of 12 months—7.1996–6.1997 and 7.1998–6.1999—were compared before and after the systematic application of early nCPAP. Of 172 infants admitted to the NICU, 150 (87%) survived. 126 (84%) were tested at 6 months’ corrected age, 121 (81%) at 18 months’ corrected age, and 117 (78%) at the age of 4 years. Detailed perinatal data were collected. Follow-up included neurological examination, developmental testing and measurement of growth parameters. Statistical analyses were performed. Early application of nCPAP and avoidance of mechanical ventilation showed no adverse effects on neurodevelopment and growth. A significantly higher developmental quotient was found in the nCPAP group at 18 months’ corrected age. Several trends were also noted in the nCPAP group with a decrease of intraventricular hemorrhage and in “abnormal neurodevelopment” at 6 months corrected age, a bigger head circumference at all different tested ages and a greater height at 6 and 18 months corrected ages. In conclusion, our study of developmental outcome documents the absence of any harmful effect of early application of nCPAP to treat respiratory failure in very low birthweight infants.


Continuous positive airway pressure Neurodevelopment Growth Newborn Very low birthweight infants 



nasal continuous positive airway pressure


very low birth weight


developmental quotient


general intellectual index


neurobiological risk score


intraventricular hemorrhage


periventricular leukomalacia


retinopathy of prematurity


auditory evoked responses


developmental quotient


general intellectual index


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pia Wintermark
    • 1
  • Jean-François Tolsa
    • 1
  • Guy Van Melle
    • 2
  • Margarita Forcada-Guex
    • 1
  • Adrien C. Moessinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Developmental Unit, Division of Neonatology, Department of PediatricsUniversity Hospital (CHUV) and Lausanne Medical SchoolLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Biostatistics Unit, Institute of Social and Preventive MedicineUniversity Hospital (CHUV) and Lausanne Medical SchoolLausanneSwitzerland

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