Nasal intermittent positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV) versus nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) for preterm neonates after extubation


Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) is a useful method for providing respiratory support after extubation. Nasal intermittent positive pressure ventilation (NIPPV) can augment NCPAP by delivering ventilator breaths via nasal prongs.


Primary objective

To determine the effects of management with NIPPV versus NCPAP on the need for additional ventilatory support in preterm infants whose endotracheal tube was removed after a period of intermittent positive pressure ventilation.

Secondary objectives

To compare rates of abdominal distension, gastrointestinal perforation, necrotising enterocolitis, chronic lung disease, pulmonary air leak, mortality, duration of hospitalisation, rates of apnoea and neurodevelopmental status at 18 to 24 months for NIPPV and NCPAP.

To compare the effect of NIPPV versus NCPAP delivered via ventilators versus bilevel devices, and assess the effects of the synchronisation of ventilation, and the strength of interventions in different economic settings.

Search methods

We used standard, extensive Cochrane search methods. The latest search date was January 2023.

Selection criteria

We included randomised and quasi‐randomised trials of ventilated preterm infants (less than 37 weeks’ gestational age (GA)) ready for extubation to non‐invasive respiratory support. Interventions were NIPPV and NCPAP.

Data collection and analysis

We used standard Cochrane methods. Our primary outcome was 1. respiratory failure. Our secondary outcomes were 2. endotracheal reintubation, 3. abdominal distension, 4. gastrointestinal perforation, 5. necrotising enterocolitis (NEC), 6. chronic lung disease, 7. pulmonary air leak, 8. mortality, 9. hospitalisation, 10. apnoea and bradycardia, and 11. neurodevelopmental status.

We used GRADE to assess the certainty of evidence.

Main results

We included 19 trials (2738 infants). Compared to NCPAP, NIPPV likely reduces the risk of respiratory failure postextubation (risk ratio (RR) 0.75, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.67 to 0.84; number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNTB) 11, 95% CI 8 to 17; 19 trials, 2738 infants; moderate‐certainty evidence) and endotracheal reintubation (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.70 to 0.87; NNTB 12, 95% CI 9 to 25; 17 trials, 2608 infants, moderate‐certainty evidence), and may reduce pulmonary air leaks (RR 0.57, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.87; NNTB 50, 95% CI 33 to infinite; 13 trials, 2404 infants; low‐certainty evidence). NIPPV likely results in little to no difference in gastrointestinal perforation (RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.58 to 1.38; 8 trials, 1478 infants, low‐certainty evidence), NEC (RR 0.86, 95% CI 0.65 to 1.15; 10 trials, 2069 infants; moderate‐certainty evidence), chronic lung disease defined as oxygen requirement at 36 weeks (RR 0.93, 95% CI 0.84 to 1.05; 9 trials, 2001 infants; moderate‐certainty evidence) and mortality prior to discharge (RR 0.81, 95% CI 0.61 to 1.07; 11 trials, 2258 infants; low‐certainty evidence).

When considering subgroup analysis, ventilator‐generated NIPPV likely reduces respiratory failure postextubation (RR 0.49, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.62; 1057 infants; I2 = 47%; moderate‐certainty evidence), while bilevel devices (RR 0.95, 95% CI 0.77 to 1.17; 716 infants) or a mix of both ventilator‐generated and bilevel devices likely results in little to no difference (RR 0.87, 95% CI 0.73 to 1.02; 965 infants).

Authors’ conclusions

NIPPV likely reduces the incidence of extubation failure and the need for reintubation within 48 hours to one‐week postextubation more effectively than NCPAP in very preterm infants (GA 28 weeks and above). There is a paucity of data for infants less than 28 weeks’ gestation. Pulmonary air leaks were also potentially reduced in the NIPPV group. However, it has no effect on other clinically relevant outcomes such as gastrointestinal perforation, NEC, chronic lung disease or mortality. Ventilator‐generated NIPPV appears superior to bilevel devices in reducing the incidence of respiratory failure postextubation failure and need for reintubation. Synchronisation used to deliver NIPPV may be important; however, data are insufficient to support strong conclusions.

Future trials should enrol a sufficient number of infants, particularly those less than 28 weeks’ GA, to detect differences in death or chronic lung disease and should compare different categories of devices, establish the impact of synchronisation of NIPPV on safety and efficacy of the technique as well as the best combination of settings for NIPPV (rate, peak pressure and positive end‐expiratory). Trials should strive to match the mean airway pressure between the intervention groups to allow a better comparison. Neurally adjusted ventilatory assist needs further assessment with properly powered randomised trials.