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Pediatrics. 2009 Nov;124(5):1333-43. doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-0114. Epub 2009 Oct 19.

Clinical and economic effects of iNO in premature newborns with respiratory failure at 1 year.



The long-term consequences of inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) use in premature newborns with respiratory failure are unknown. We therefore studied the clinical and economic outcomes to 1 year of corrected age after a randomized controlled trial of prophylactic iNO.


Premature newborns (gestational age <or=34 w, birth weight 500-1250 g) with respiratory failure randomly received 5 ppm iNO or placebo within 48 h of birth until 21 d or extubation. We assessed clinical outcomes via in-person neurodevelopmental evaluation at 1 y corrected age and telephone interviews every 3 m. We estimated costs from detailed hospital bills and interviews, converting all costs to 2008 US$. Of 793 trial subjects, 631 (79.6%) contributed economic data, and 455 (77.1% of survivors) underwent neurodevelopmental evaluation.


At 1 y corrected age, survival was not different by treatment arm (79.2% iNO vs. 74.5% placebo, P = .12), nor were other post-discharge outcomes. For subjects weighing 750-999 g, those receiving iNO had greater survival free from neurodevelopmental impairment (67.9% vs. 55.6%, P = .04). However, in subjects weighing 500-749 g, iNO led to greater oxygen dependency (11.7% vs. 4.0%, P = .04). Median total costs were similar ($235,800 iNO vs. $198,300 placebo, P = .19). Quality-adjusted survival was marginally better with iNO (by 0.011 quality-adjusted life-years/subject). The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was $2.25 million/quality-adjusted life-year.


Subjects in both arms commonly experienced neurodevelopmental and pulmonary morbidity, consuming substantial health care resources. Prophylactic iNO beginning in the first days of life did not lower costs and had a poor cost-effectiveness profile.


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