Prevalence and factors associated with surfactant use in Brazilian Neonatal Intensive Care Units: A multilevel analysis

Abstract The treatment with exogenous surfactant reduces mortality and the risk of complications in preterm newborns with Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Higher usage levels have been associated with individual and institutional factors. The study aimed to identify these factors associated with use of this technology in 16 public Brazilian Neonatal Units using logistic multilevel analysis. In a sample of 630 newborns the use at some time was 82.6%. Only 24.7% made use of this technology up to two hours after birth. An intraclass correlation of 0.30 showed that 30% of the variance in the use of exogenous surfactant could be assigned to the contextual level. In the final model, a greater severity score (SNAPPE-II) was associated with increased surfactant use (OR = 2.64), whereas being small for gestational age (SGA) (OR = 0.59) was associated with lower use of this technology. At the contextual level the number of beds in the unit >15 (OR = 5.86), units with higher complexity (OR = 1.73) or units with implemented Kangaroo Mother Care (OR = 2.91), especially units in Rio de Janeiro state (OR = 16.17) were associated with greater surfactant use. Although individual clinical features explained most of the variation in the use of this technology, factors linked to the institution were also of utmost importance.