Surfactant administration through laryngeal or supraglottic airways

Scott O. Guthrie, Prem Fort, Kari D. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Noninvasive ventilation is frequently used in the treatment of infants with respiratory distress syndrome. This practice is often effective in higher gestational age neonates, but can be difficult in those with lower gestational ages as surfactant deficiency can be severe. While noninvasive ventilation avoids the negative effects of intubation and ventilator-induced lung injury, failure of this mode of support does occur with relative frequency and is primarily caused by the poorly compliant, surfactant-deficient lung. Because of the potential problems associated with laryngoscopy and intubation, neonatologists have developed various methods to deliver surfactant in minimally invasive ways with the aim of improving the success of noninvasive ventilation. Methods of minimally invasive surfactant administration include various thin catheter techniques, aerosolization/nebulization, and the use of a laryngeal mask airway/supraglottic airway device. The clinician should recognize that currently the only US Food and Drug Administration–approved device to deliver surfactant is an endotracheal tube and all methods reviewed here are considered off-label use. This review will focus primarily on surfactant administration through laryngeal or supraglottic airways, providing a review of the history of this technique, animal and human trials, and comparison with other minimally invasive techniques. In addition, this review provides a step-by-step instruction guide on how to perform this procedure, including a multimedia tutorial to facilitate learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e673-e688
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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