1. Solberg, Marianne Trygg PhD, MSN, RN
  2. Solevag, Anne Lee MD, PhD
  3. Clarke, Sara BA, MA


Background: Most studies examining the best mechanical ventilation strategies in newborn infants have been performed in premature infants with respiratory distress syndrome.


Purpose: To identify and synthesize the evidence regarding optimal mechanical ventilation strategies in full-term newborns.


Methods: Systematic review carried out according to the methods described in the PRISMA statement.


Search Strategy: Searches in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library in March 2017, with an updated search and hand searches of reference lists of relevant articles in August 2017.


Study Selection: Studies were included if they were published between 1996 and 2017, involved newborns with gestational age of 37 to 42 weeks, were randomized controlled trials, intervention or crossover studies, and addressed outcomes affecting oxygenation and/or ventilation, and/or short-term outcomes including duration of mechanical ventilation. Because of the large heterogeneity between the studies, it was not possible to synthesize the results in meta-analyses. The results are presented according to thematic analysis.


Results: No individual study reported research exclusively in newborns 37 to 42 weeks of gestation. Eight studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria, but the population in all these studies included both premature and term newborns. Evidence about mechanical ventilation tailored exclusively to full-term newborns is scarce.


Implication for Practice: Synchronized intermittent mandatory ventilation with a 6 mL/kg tidal volume and a positive end-expiratory pressure of 8 cm H2O may be advantageous in full-term newborns.


Implication for Research: There is an urgent need for high-quality studies, preferably randomized controlled trials, in full-term newborns requiring mechanical ventilation to optimize oxygenation, ventilation, and short-term outcomes, potentially stratified according to the underlying pathology.