The aims of this study were to measure the incidence and severity of nasal septum injury in premature infants receiving continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) via a noninvasive thin-walled cannula, and to evaluate the effect of a polyvinyl chloride foam barrier dressing
in reducing these injuries.
Retrospective chart review, comparison cohort study.
SUBJECTS AND SETTING:
The sample comprised 235 neonates
with a gestational age of 28 weeks or younger. Their mean gestational age was 26 weeks (range 22-28 weeks) and mean birth weight was 840 g (range 430-1320 g). The study setting was a level 4, regional neonatal intensive care unit housed in a 200-bed freestanding children's hospital located in the Northeastern United States.
Data were collected during 3 periods. During all 3 data collection periods, we used a soft, thin-walled nasal cannula
, with a relatively short, binasal prong interphase and small diameter tubing connected to a ventilator circuit capable of transmitting positive airway pressure in neonates
. During data collection periods 1 and 3, we used a polyvinyl foam barrier dressing as a preventive intervention against nasal skin damage; specifically, we placed a precut barrier on the prongs to protect the nasal skin. One side of the barrier foam has an adhesive surface, which was placed against the prongs. Study period 2 differed; during this period neonates
were treated with the nasal cannula
without the foam barrier based on manufacturer experience suggesting the foam barrier is not needed for prevention of skin damage. Pressure injuries (PIs) that occurred during each study period were staged according to National Pressure Ulcer
Advisory Panel definitions.
were evaluated during study period 1 (thin-walled nasal cannula
plus foam barrier). We evaluated 27 neonates
during period 2 (thin-walled nasal cannula
and no foam barrier) and 128 were evaluated during study period 3 (thin-walled nasal cannula
plus foam barrier). Six neonates
(7%) developed PIs during period 1, and 2 (1.5%) developed during study period 3. All were stage 1 and 2 PIs, no full-thickness injuries, also referred to as columella necrosis developed during use of the thin-walled nasal cannula
in combination with the foam barrier dressings. In contrast, 13 PIs (48%) of neonates
managed during data collection period 2 (thin-walled nasal cannula
with no foam barrier) developed PI, and 40% experienced stage 3 PI or columella necrosis. This difference reflects a 6-fold increase in nasal injury occurred when nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) was administered without use of the protective barrier dressing.
We found clinically relevant difference in the occurrences of nasal PI in neonates
managed with NCPAP; occurrences of stage 3 PI were 6-fold higher when a thin-walled cannula was used without a protective foam barrier dressing.