Sixty infants (median gestational age 29 weeks) with acute and 60 infants (median gestational age 25 weeks) with chronic respiratory distress were randomised to be extubated either directly into a headbox or onto 3 cm H2O nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Our aim was to test the hypothesis that extubation onto nasal CPAP rather than directly into a headbox was more likely to be associated with successful extubation in infants with acute rather than chronic respiratory distress. Overall the failure rate of extubation was approximately 33%, with no significant difference between the infants with acute and chronic respiratory distress. There was no significant difference in the failure rate of extubation among infants randomised to receive nasal CPAP or headbox oxygen in either the acute or chronic respiratory distress groups.
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