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J Pediatr. 1999 Apr;134(4):406-12.

Multicenter randomized controlled trial of the effects of inhaled nitric oxide therapy on gas exchange in children with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure.

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Departments of Pediatrics at The Children's Hospital University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver, Colorado, USA.



To determine whether inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) therapy can attenuate the progression of lung disease in acute hypoxemic respiratory failure, we performed a multicenter, randomized, masked, controlled study of the effects of prolonged iNO therapy on oxygenation. We hypothesized that iNO therapy would improve oxygenation in an acute manner, slow the rate of decline in gas exchange, and decrease the number of patients who meet pre-established oxygenation failure criteria.


A total of 108 children (median age 2.5 years) with severe acute hypoxemic respiratory failure from 7 centers were enrolled. After consent was obtained, patients were randomized to treatment with iNO (10 ppm) or mechanical ventilation alone for at least 72 hours. Patients with an oxygenation index >/=40 for 3 hours or >/=25 for 6 hours were considered treatment failures and exited the study.


Patient age, primary diagnosis, pediatric risk of mortality score, mode of ventilation, and median oxygenation index (35 +/- 22 vs 30 +/- 15; iNO vs control; mean +/- SEM) were not different between groups at study entry. Comparisons of oxygenation indexes during the first 12 hours demonstrated an acute improvement in oxygenation in the iNO group at 4 hours (-10.2 vs -2.7, mean values; P <.014) and at 12 hours (-9.2 vs -2.8; P <.007). At 12 hours 36% of the control group met failure criteria in contrast with 16% in the iNO group (P <.05). During prolonged therapy the failure rate was reduced in the iNO group in patients whose entry oxygenation index was >/=25 (P <.04) and in immunocompromised patients (P <.03).


We conclude that iNO causes an acute improvement in oxygenation in children with severe AHRF. Two subgroups (immunocompromised and an entry oxygen index >/=25) appear to have a more sustained improvement in oxygenation, and we speculate that these subgroups may benefit from prolonged therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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