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Surfactant status and respiratory outcome in premature infants receiving late surfactant treatment.

  • Author(s): Ballard, Philip L
  • Keller, Roberta L
  • Truog, William E
  • Chapin, Cheryl
  • Horneman, Hart
  • Segal, Mark R
  • Ballard, Roberta A
  • Tolsurf Investigators
  • et al.
Abstract

BACKGROUND:Many premature infants with respiratory failure are deficient in surfactant, but the relationship to occurrence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is uncertain. METHODS:Tracheal aspirates were collected from 209 treated and control infants enrolled at 7-14 days in the Trial of Late Surfactant. The content of phospholipid, surfactant protein B, and total protein were determined in large aggregate (active) surfactant. RESULTS:At 24 h, surfactant treatment transiently increased surfactant protein B content (70%, p < 0.01), but did not affect recovered airway surfactant or total protein/phospholipid. The level of recovered surfactant during dosing was directly associated with content of surfactant protein B (r = 0.50, p < 0.00001) and inversely related to total protein (r = 0.39, p < 0.0001). For all infants, occurrence of BPD was associated with lower levels of recovered large aggregate surfactant, higher protein content, and lower SP-B levels. Tracheal aspirates with lower amounts of recovered surfactant had an increased proportion of small vesicle (inactive) surfactant. CONCLUSIONS:We conclude that many intubated premature infants are deficient in active surfactant, in part due to increased intra-alveolar metabolism, low SP-B content, and protein inhibition, and that the severity of this deficit is predictive of BPD. Late surfactant treatment at the frequency used did not provide a sustained increase in airway surfactant.

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