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Signa Vitae

Journal of Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine

Exogenous Surfactant Treatment in Children with ARDS


Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved exogenous surfactant in the early 90s for the treatment of neonates with Hyaline Membrane Disease (HMD), many studies have focused on enlarging its indications for others types of lung injuries and for other age groups. Although in the past 20 years no studies have shown clear results about the efficacy of exogenous surfactant treatment in paediatric Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), many of them were able to point out and better define very important aspects of this treatment like dosage, timing, ways of administration and usage of different types of surfactant (natural and synthetic). In this review we retrace the development of studies looking at the role of exogenous surfactant treatment in paediatric ARDS.

Key words: surfactant, ARDS, bronchoalveolar lavage.

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Surfactant administration in premature infants with RDS


Background. The significant advancement in the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome can be attributed to prenatal identification of high risk pregnancies, prevention of illness through antenatal care, prenatal administration of glucocorticoids, advancement in respiratory support and surfactant therapy. These measures resulted in the reduction of mortality and morbidity rates in preterm infants.
Patients and methods. We analyzed data of 78 preterm babies with respiratory distress syndrome hospitalized in the NICU of the Pediatric Clinic, KCU Sarajevo. All children included in the study were mechanically ventilated and treated with one or more doses of bovine surfactant (Survanta) as rescue therapy. Surfactant was given to children with clinical and radiological signs of RDS, who required FiO2>0,40. We used the standard procedure of giving surfactant therapy to intubated children in sterile conditions, after we confirmed, by X-ray, correct tube placement.
Results. We investigated the clinical efficacy of surfactant in relation to time of administration, O2 requirement and necessity of one or more doses of surfactant. We found that early treatment with surfactant replacement- within 6 hours of birth- is more effective, and resulted in a significant reduction of mortality rate (p<0,01). Treatment with multiple doses is more effective in comparison to one dose, although there was not a significant difference (p<0,20) between the treated groups. There is a significant difference (p<0,01) between groups related to O2 requirement. In the group of babies which required 60% or more O2 concentration in inhaled air at the time of surfactant replacement, mortality rate was significantly higher (p<0,01).
Conclusion. Our study confirmed the benefits of surfactant therapy in preterm babies with respiratory distress syndrome. We confirmed the advantages of early treatment vs. late treatment, but we could not confirm the obvious advantage of multiple over single doses. So, a reasonable recommendation is to treat the infants as soon as clinical signs of developing respiratory distress appear with an individual dose for each infant.

Key words: respiratory distress syndrome, surfactant, preterm

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