Oxygen and preterm infant resuscitation: what else do we need to know?

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To evaluate current evidence for the use of lower or higher oxygen strategies for preterm infant resuscitation

Recent findings

The equipoise for using higher fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) (>0.4) to initiate preterm infant respiratory stabilization has been lost. Recent meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials assessing outcomes after using higher (FiO2 ≥ 0.6) vs. lower (FiO2 ≤ 0.3) oxygen strategies to initiate preterm resuscitation shows no difference in the rates of death or major morbidities. However, not achieving pulse oximetry saturations of at least 80% by 5 min of age, whether it was due to iatrogenic oxygen insufficiency or poor infant pulmonary function, was associated with lower heart rates (mean difference −8.37, 95% confidence interval: −15.73, −1.01) and major intraventricular hemorrhage. There remains scarce neurodevelopmental data in this area and information about the impact of oxygen targeting strategies in low resourced areas. These knowledge gaps are research priorities that must be addressed in large, well designed randomized controlled trials.

Summary

Most clinicians now use lower oxygen strategies to initiate respiratory support for all infants, including preterm infants with significant lung disease. However, the impact of such strategies, particularly for neurodevelopmental outcomes and for lower resourced areas, remains uncertain and must be urgently addressed.

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