A Pilot study to determine whether external stabilisation of the chest wall reduces the need for mechanical ventilation in preterm infants

Daynia E Ballot, Peter A Cooper, Barbara J Cory, Sithembiso Velaphi, Elaine Beckh Arnold, Joyce Mlandu, Charles Palmer


To determine whether external stabilization of the chest wall with a splint reduces the need for mechanical ventilation in preterm infants.
Non blinded prospective randomized controlled study. After consent was obtained, babies were randomized into a chest splint or control group.
Neonatal units of Johannesburg and Chris Hani Baragwanath hospitals
Preterm infants with a birth weight between 1000 and 3200 grams with respiratory distress syndrome requiring more than 25% supplemental oxygen to maintain oxygen saturation above 90% during the first day of life.
Outcome measures
The primary outcome measure was the need for mechanical ventilation within 72 hours, secondary outcome measures were survival at 30 days, air leak and intraventricular haemorrhage.
Results and conclusions
This small study did not demonstrate any reduction in the need for ventilation with the use of the chest splint. There was no difference in the rate of survival or complications, indicating that the splint is safe to use. Further studies with larger numbers are warranted.

Authors' affiliations

Daynia E Ballot, University of the Witwatersrand

Peter A Cooper, University of the Witwatersrand

Barbara J Cory, Wits University

Sithembiso Velaphi, University of the Witwatersrand

Elaine Beckh Arnold, Wits University

Joyce Mlandu, Wits University

Charles Palmer, Penn Hershey State Hospital

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Preterm infants; respiratory distress; ventilation

Cite this article

South African Journal of Child Health 2008;2(4):146.

Article History

Date submitted: 2008-05-20
Date published: 2009-02-02

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