Improved neonatal survival following multiple doses of bovine surfactant in very premature neonates at risk for respiratory distress syndrome

R. E. Hoekstra, J. C. Jackson, T. F. Myers, I. D. Frantz, M. E. Stern, W. F. Powers, M. Maurer, J. R. Raye, S. T. Carrier, J. H. Gunkel, A. J. Gold

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149 Scopus citations


To determine whether multiple doses of bovine surfactant would improve neonatal mortality in very premature neonates, we conducted two multicenter controlled trials under identical protocols; the results were combined for analysis. Four hundred and thirty neonates born between 23 and 29 weeks gestation and weighing 600 to 1250 g at birth were assigned randomly at birth to receive either 100 mg of phospholipids/kg of Survanta, a modified bovine surfactant (n = 210), or a sham air placebo (n = 220) within 15 minutes of birth. Neonates who developed respiratory distress syndrome and required mechanical ventilation with at least 30% oxygen could be given up to three more doses in the first 48 hours after birth. Dosing was performed by investigators not involved in the clinical care of the neonates; nursery staff were kept blinded as to the treatment assignment. Cause of death was determined by a panel of three independent, board-certified neonatologists after blindly reviewing case report forms and autopsy reports. Fewer Survanta-treated neonates died of any cause (11.4% vs 18.8%, P = .031), died of respiratory distress syndrome (1.9% vs 15.6%, P < .001), and either died or developed bronchopulmonary dysplasia due to respiratory distress syndrome (39.5% vs 49.1%, P = .044). The incidence of respiratory distress syndrome was also lower in Survanta-treated neonates (28.0% vs 56.9%, P < .001), and the Survanta-treated neonates' oxygenation and ventilatory status were improved significantly at 72 hours. Survanta-treated neonates were also at lowered risk of developing pulmonary interstitial emphysema (23.3% vs 36.9%, P = .002) and other forms of pulmonary air leaks (9.6% vs 20.8%, P .002). We conclude that multiple doses of Survanta reduce mortality and morbidity due to respiratory distress syndrome during the neonatal period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-18
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • bovine surfactant
  • bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • hyaline membrane disease
  • neonatal mortality
  • prematurity
  • pulmonary surfactant
  • respiratory distress syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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