Recently, one of our readers introduced me to something called Vapotherm Therapy. I am so excited about this new technology and wish it had been around when my preemie was in the NICU. The following is information I found at www.chw.org (Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin website):
Vapotherm, quite simply, is a heated and humidified nasal cannula. Since it provides near 100 percent relative humidity at body temperature, the patient can tolerate much higher flows than a traditional nasal cannula. For comparison, the unit can be used up to 40 LPM on an adult. With the infant cartridge, the unit can deliver flows up to 8 LPM. The cannula looks exactly like a regular nasal cannula, but just below the chin, it is connected to a heated water tubing that surrounds the heated and humidified gas. The water tubing cocoon keeps the humidity in suspension and decreases rainout. Because the patient can tolerate much higher flows without the complications associated with a traditional nasal cannula, we are able to deliver FiO2s very close to 100 percent. Since the generation of flow through a regular nasal cannula can result in inadvertent continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), we believe that inadvertent CPAP may be delivered with the Vapotherm cannula as well. Currently we are unable to measure the amount of CPAP generated at various flows, and research is underway across the country to explore this more thoroughly.
Vapotherm has been used to treat:
- Hypoxemia (not responding to low flow oxygen therapy).
- Apnea of prematurity.
- Persistent respiratory insufficiency.
- Upper airway obstructions and or anomalies.
- Airway inflammation.
- Nasal CPAP patients experiencing excessive mucus plugging.
- Patients who have difficulty or the inability to consistently wear nasal CPAP; intolerance of the nasal interface (masks, prongs, pillows) or excessive breakdown of nasal area due to use of nasal CPAP and or bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) therapy.
This is brilliant. One of my preemie’s biggest struggles was congestion. For some reason, and I’m now guessing it was when she was put on nasal cannula, my preemie suffered from constant mucus plugging, her breathing was labored and exhausting, and because of it she had a hard time with oral feedings. The nurses had to suction her nasal passages frequently, and they even cut her nasal prongs to decrease the irritation on her nose. Even after we brought her home on oxygen her breathing was still loud and congested. We hardly noticed it anymore because we got used to it. However, after learning about vapotherm therapy, I’m positive that it was after she was no longer on nasal cannula oxygen that her breathing finally got smoother and her constant congestion went away. What a revelation!
I would love to hear more about Vapotherm Therapy and if any of your preemies got to use it. Has it been used in place of CPAP? How wonderful was it? Thanks for your input.