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Mask versus nasal prong leak and intermittent hypoxia during continuous positive airway pressure in very preterm infants

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 17:00 authored by Poets, CF, Kai LimKai Lim, Andrew MarshallAndrew Marshall, Jackson, H, Timothy GaleTimothy Gale, Peter DargavillePeter Dargaville
Background: Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) can be applied via binasal prongs or nasal masks; both may be associated with air leak and intermittent hypoxia. We investigated whether the latter is more frequent with nasal masks or prongs.

Methods: Continuous 24 hours recordings of inspired oxygen fraction (FiO2), pulse rate, respiratory rate, pulse oximeter saturation (SpO2) and CPAP level were made in preterm infants with respiratory insufficiency (n=20) managed on CPAP in the NICU at the Royal Hobart Hospital. As part of routine care, nasal interfaces were alternated 4-hourly between mask and prongs. In each recording, the first two segments containing at least 3 hours of artefact-free signal for each interface were selected. Recordings were analysed for episodes with hypoxaemia (SpO2 <80% for ≥10 s) and bradycardia (pulse rate <80/min for ≥4 s) and for episodes of pressure loss at the nasal interface. Data were compared using Wilcoxon-matched pairs test and are reported as median (IQR).

Results: Infants had a gestational age at birth of 26 (25-27) weeks and postnatal age of 17 (14-24) days. There was no difference in %time with interface leak between prong and mask (0.9 (0-8)% vs 1.1 (0-18)%, p=0.82), %time with SpO2 <80% (0.15 (0-1.2)% vs 0.06 (0-0.8)%, p=0.74) or heart rate <80/min (0.03 (0-0.2)% vs 0 (0-0.2)%, p=0.64). Three infants had interface leak for >10% of the time with prongs and 5 with the mask.

Conclusion: Both interfaces resulted in a similarly stable provision of positive airway pressure, and there was also no difference in the occurrence of intermittent hypoxia.


Publication title

Archives of Disease in Childhood. Fetal and Neonatal Edition






Menzies Institute for Medical Research


B M J Group

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Neonatal and child health

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