In vitro comparison of performance including imposed work of breathing of CPAP systems used in low-resource settings

Megan Heenan, Jose D. Rojas, Z. Maria Oden, Rebecca Richards-Kortum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Respiratory distress due to preterm birth is a significant cause of death in low-resource settings. The introduction of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) systems to treat respiratory distress significantly reduced mortality in high-resource settings, but CPAP was only recently introduced in low-resource settings due to cost and infrastructure limitations. We evaluated pressure stability and imposed work of breathing (iWOB) of five CPAP systems used in low resource settings: the Fisher and Paykel bubble CPAP, the Diamedica baby CPAP, the Medijet nCPAP generator, and the first (2015) and second (2017) generation commercially available Pumani CPAPs. Pressure changes due to fresh gas flow were evaluated for each system by examining the relationship between flow and pressure at the patient interface for four pressures generated at the bottle (0, 3, 5, and 7 cm H2O); for the Medijet nCPAP generator, no bottle was used. The slope of the resulting relationship was used to calculate system resistance. Poiseuille’s law of resistance was used to investigate significant contributors to resistance. Resistance ranged from 0.05 to 1.40 cmL=minH2O; three CPAP devices had resistances < 0.4 cmL=minH2O: the Fisher and Paykel system, the Diamedica system, and the second generation Pumani bubble CPAP. The other two systems, the Medijet nCPAP generator and the first generation Pumani bCPAP, had resistances >1.0 cmL=minH2O. Imposed WOB was measured using an ASL5000 test lung to simulate the breath cycle for an infant (5.5 kg), a term neonate (4.0 kg), and a preterm neonate (2.5 kg). Imposed WOB ranged from 1.4 to 39.5 mJ/breath across all systems and simulated infant sizes. Changes in pressure generated by fresh gas flow, resistance, and iWOB differ between the five systems evaluated under ideal laboratory conditions. The available literature does not indicate that these differences affect clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0242590
JournalPloS one
Issue number12 December
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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