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To Bubble or Not? A Systematic Review of Bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure in Children in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

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BACKGROUND: Bubble-continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) is a simple, low-cost ventilation therapy with the potential to lower morbidity and mortality in children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

AIM: To examine (i) whether bCPAP is a safe and effective treatment for children in all age-groups presenting with respiratory distress from any cause, (ii) LMIC-implemented bCPAP devices including their technical specifications and costs and (iii) the setting and level of health care bCPAP has been implemented in.

METHOD: A systematic search was performed of Embase, PubMed and Web of Science. Inclusion criteria: bCPAP for children with respiratory distress in all age groups in LMICs. Database searches were performed up to 1 November 2018.

RESULTS: A total of 24 publications were eligible for the review. For neonates bCPAP was superior in improving survival and clinical progression compared with oxygen therapy and mechanical ventilation (MV). In two studies bCPAP was superior to low flow oxygen in reducing mortality in children 29 days to 13 months. Respiratory rate reductions were significant across all ages. Only three of six studies in children of all ages evaluated serious adverse events. In 12 studies comprising 1338 neonates treated with bCPAP, pneumothorax was reported 27 times. The majority of studies were carried out at tertiary hospitals in middle-income countries and 50% implemented the most expensive bCPAP-device.

CONCLUSION: In neonates and children below 13 months bCPAP is a safe treatment improving clinical outcomes and reducing the need for MV, without an increase in mortality. High-quality studies from non-tertiary settings in low-income countries are needed.

TidsskriftJournal of Tropical Pediatrics
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)339-353
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 1 jun. 2020

Bibliografisk note

© The Author(s) [2019]. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:

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