Objective: To compare the resistance in vitro of different devices used for the delivery of nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) in neonates.
Design: Flows of 4–8 litres/min were passed through a selection of neonatal NCPAP devices (single prong, Duotube, Argyle prong, Hudson prong, Infant Flow Driver), and the resultant fall in pressure measured using a calibrated pressure transducer.
Results: The decrease in pressure (cm H2O) for each device (size in parentheses) at a constant flow of 6 litres/min was: Duotube: (2.5), 21; (3.0), 6.2; (3.5), 2.3; single prong: (2.5), 4.4; (3.0), 2.1; (3.5), 1.2; Argyle prong: (XS), 3.6; (S), 1.9; (L), 1.5; Hudson prong: (0), 3.1; (1), 1.8; (2), 0.6; (3), 0.4; (4), 0.3; Infant Flow Driver: (small), 0.3; (medium), -0.3; (large), -0.5.
Conclusions: A large variation in the potential fall in pressure may occur in the clinical setting. Devices with short double prongs had the lowest resistance to flow. These results have implications in the selection of the optimal device/s for clinical application and for future comparisons in randomised trials of NCPAP in neonates.