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Complications Relatively Common With Neonatal CPAP

Continuous positive airway pressure for babies requires close monitoring, researchers conclude

THURSDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- For patients in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), complications are relatively frequent with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), but not with cannula supplementation, according to a study in the March issue of the Archives of Otolaryngology -- Head & Neck Surgery.

Kris R. Jatana, M.D., of the Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, and colleagues conducted a study of 100 NICU patients, of whom 91 received at least seven days of CPAP, while nine received cannula supplementation.

There were no complications among the nine babies who had cannula supplementation, but 12 (13.2 percent) of the CPAP-treated babies experienced complications, the researchers found. Five (5.5 percent) of the patients had columellar necrosis, while ulceration was detected in six nasal cavities, vestibular stenosis in four nasal cavities, and granulation in three nasal cavities. The investigators further noted an association between risk of complications from CPAP and lower Apgar scores.

"Frequent examinations of the columella must be performed on neonates using nasal CPAP because necrosis was found as early as 10 days after administration. Vestibular stenosis occurred as early as eight days after nasal CPAP placement," the authors write. "Nasal CPAP has become an important method of oxygen supplementation in the NICU setting, and health care providers must be aware of the potential complications."

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