Flow data from first 48 hours of life predicts bronchopulmonary dysplasia in premature babies

13 March, 2018

Flow data obtained during the first hours of life may predict later bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in premature babies, according to a study published in ERJ Open Research.

In a prospective population-based study of 33 extremely premature infants born at <28 weeks, flow data were gathered from ventilators during the first 48 hours of life.

Of the 33 infants included in the study, 18 developed moderate/severe BPD, while 15 had no/mild BPD. The groups did not differ in gestational age, surfactant treatment or ventilator settings.

The results showed that that there were more males and a tendency for lower gestational age, birthweight and birthweight z-score in the infants who developed moderate/severe BPD, but the researchers note that these differences were not statistically significant.

The infants who developed moderate/severe BPD had evidence of less airflow obstruction, significantly so for tidal expiratory flow at 50% of tidal expiratory volume (TEF50) expressed as a ratio of peak tidal expiratory flow (PTEF).

Researchers then developed a model to estimate BPD in infants using multiple logistic regressions, incorporating TEF50/PTEF, birthweight z-score and sex; this was found to predict moderate/severe BPD with good accuracy.

The authors conclude that easily obtained flow data could be used to compute breathing parameters that identify infants who are likely to develop severe forms of BPD, but state that future and larger studies are needed to validate these findings and to determine their clinical usefulness.