Objective To compare the ability of qualitative versus quantitative methods of end-tidal carbon dioxide (EtCO2) detection to maintain normocarbia during face mask ventilation (FMV) of preterm infants (<32 weeks) in the delivery room.
Study design Preterm infants <32 weeks were randomly assigned to the use of a disposable PediCap EtCO2 detector (Covidien, Dublin, Ireland) (qualitative) or a Microstream side stream capnography device (Covidien) (quantitative) for FMV in the delivery room, via a NeoPuff T-piece resuscitator (Fisher and Paykel, Auckland, New Zealand). The primary outcome was the presence of normocarbia, based on partial pressure of CO2 (PaCO2) readings obtained in the neonatal intensive care unit within an hour of birth. Normocarbia was defined as a PaCO2 measure between 37.5 and 60 mm Hg (5-8 kPa).
Results Of the 59 infants included, 59% (35/59) were within the PaCO2 target range within an hour of birth. There was no difference in the primary outcome; 64% (21/33) of infants in the quantitative group were within the PaCO2 range compared with 54% (14/26) in the qualitative group (P=.594); and 93% of participants <28 weeks' gestation were within the PaCO2 normocarbic range (90% [9/10] in quantitative group and 100% [5/5] in the qualitative group [P = 1]). There was no difference in the intubation rate, days of ventilation, or bronchopulmonary dysplasia rates between the 2 groups.
Conclusions Quantitative or qualitative EtCO2 detection methods are both feasible for FMV in the delivery room. Although there was no difference in the incidence of normocarbia, the use of either form of EtCO2 monitoring should be considered during newborn stabilization, especially in infants less than 28 weeks' gestation.