Three recent-(ish) articles examining how we should ventilate babies and monitor what we are doing.
In this study, respiratory function monitoring with tidal volume, airway pressure and exhaled CO2 was routinely introduced in 2 London hospitals. The authors then asked trainees whether they found it useful, and what they thought the right tidal volume should be. As you might imagine the answers were quite variable, and integrating more than one sign, such as a lack of exhaled CO2 despite measured tidal volumes, was quite variable.
Tony Milner was one of the authors of that previous article; many years ago he demonstrated that standard ventilation techniques led to an apparent ‘opening pressure’, where a substantial positive pressure was required to get air into the lungs, and that the end-expiratory volume of the lungs in the first few breaths remained very low. In contrast a long slow inflation (3 to 5 seconds) eliminated the opening pressure, in intubated babies, and led to establishment of an FRC. This new article used a pressure of 25 cmH2O and duration of 10 seconds, delivered by face mask, but was unable to show the establishment of an FRC, unless the babies were breathing.
Murthy V, Creagh N, Peacock J, Fox G, Campbell M, Milner A, et al. Inflation times during resuscitation of preterm infants. Eur J Pediatr. 2012;171(5):843-6. This observational study during resuscitation, using the same respiratory function set up as in the first article, could not show that the variation in inflation times which occurred by chance during resuscitation (from 0.3 to 3 seconds) did not affect inspiratory flow duration.
Neil Finer reviews the current state of the art of prolonged inflations, his conclusion: ‘not ready for prime time’.
Schilleman K, Witlox RS, van Vonderen JJ, Roegholt E, Walther FJ, te Pas AB. Auditing documentation on delivery room management using video and physiological recordings. Archives of Disease in Childhood – Fetal and Neonatal Edition. 2014. If you video record resuscitations, and then compare the tapes to what is actually written in the patients chart, this is what you get:
The clinical condition of the infant at birth was documented in 76% and 1 min Apgar scores in 98%. Respiratory support was correctly documented in 83%, heart rate in 37% and oxygen saturation in 13%. In 57% use of supplemental oxygen and its indication were correctly reported. Seven infants were intubated and this was correctly documented in 57%. Apgar scores were compared between the recordings and the medical records. At 1 min, 5 min and 10 min after birth the Apgar score, given by the researcher using the recordings, was similar to the scores in the medical records in 33%, 44% and 53%, respectively.
Hmmm.. maybe we need cameras everywhere and make the recordings part of the patients chart… or maybe not!