Oxygen dependency as equivalent to bronchopulmonary dysplasia at different altitudes in newborns ≤ 1500 g at birth from the SIBEN network

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To compare the incidence of oxygen dependency in SIBEN neonatal units while adjusting for altitude.


We reviewed the charts of infants who were ≤ 1500 g at birth, admitted to six neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) near sea level and in seven NICUs at varying altitudes above sea level from the SIBEN network between 2008 and 2010. We defined bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) as oxygen dependency at 28 days of life and at 36 weeks postmenstrual age.


There were 767 babies in the first group and 318 in the second group. BPD incidence was greater in hospitals at higher altitudes when it was not corrected for barometric pressure. After correction, there was a decrease in the incidence of oxygen dependency at 28 days of life (P < 0.0002) and at 36 weeks corrected age. (P < 0.0001)


After correction for higher altitudes, the decrease in oxygen dependency as equivalent to BPD was significant. A proper classification of BPD for higher altitudes is urgently needed.

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