Early Surfactant Guided by Lamellar Body Counts on Gastric Aspirate in Very Preterm Infants

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: We have developed a rapid method, based on lamellar body counts (LBC) on gastric aspirate, for identifying newborns who will develop respiratory distress syndrome with a need for surfactant supplementation. Objective: We set out to test whether it was possible to improve the outcome when used in a clinical trial. Methods: We randomly assigned 380 infants born at 24-29 weeks' gestation and supported with nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP) to receive surfactant guided either by LBC (intervention group) or increasing need for oxygen (control group). The primary outcome was mechanical ventilation or death within 5 days. Secondary outcomes included need for oxygen expressed by arterial to alveolar oxygen tension ratio (a/APO(2)) at the age of 6 h and need for oxygen at day 28. Results: The primary outcomes were equal (25%) in the two groups. The intervention group had higher a/APO(2) than the control group at 6 h, median 0.64 versus 0.52 (p < 0.01), and the subgroup with gestational age 26-29 weeks needed fewer days of oxygen supplementation than the controls, median 2 vs. 9 days (p = 0.01), and fewer infants needed oxygen at day 28 (p = 0.04). Furthermore, there was a tendency in the intervention group towards a shorter duration of nCPAP. Too little or viscose aspirate in 23% of the cases was a limitation of the method. Conclusion: Using LBC test as indicator of lung maturity and early surfactant therapy in very preterm newborns, it is possible to reduce the need for oxygen supplementation. Copyright (C) 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel


  • Henrik Verder
  • Finn Ebbesen
  • Jesper Fenger-Gron
  • Tine Brink Henriksen
  • Bengt Andreasson
  • Lars Bender
  • Aksel Bertelsen
  • Lars Björklund
  • Marianne Dahl
  • Gitte Esberg
  • Christian Eschen
  • Marie Hovring
  • Andreas Kreft
  • Jorn Kroner
  • Fredrik Lundberg
  • Pernille Pedersen
  • Jes Reinholdt
  • Hristo Stanchev
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pediatrics


  • Continuous positive airway pressure, Nasal CPAP, Premature infants, Respiratory distress syndrome, Pulmonary surfactant, Lamellar bodies
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-122
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch