Applications of near infrared spectroscopy in the neonate

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Abstract

Purpose of review

There has been a significant increase in the utilization of NIRS in neonatal care over the last few years, with some centers now routinely utilizing this monitoring technique for direct intervention at the bedside. In this review, we provide a summary of the most up-to-date evidence on near infrared spectroscopy utilization, with particular emphasis on measurement of cerebral oxygenation in preterm infants.

Recent findings

There have been significant advances in the technology, leading to an increase in the number of available devices and in the use of this monitoring tool to reduce cerebral injury in preterm infants. The role of NIRS in assessing cerebral autoregulation in preterm and term infants, in evaluating somatic oxygenation, and in the management of newborns with hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy is discussed.

Summary

Two recent pilot randomized controlled trials highlight the potential of cerebral oxygenation monitoring to direct management in the delivery room and the neonatal intensive care unit. However, we urge caution against routine use and await the results of further studies in this area before considering this type of monitoring as standard of care.

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