Oxygen saturation targeting by pulse oximetry in the extremely low gestational age neonate: a quixotic quest

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Purpose of review

A collaboration of comparative effectiveness research trials of pulse oximeter saturation (SpO2) targeting in extremely low-gestational-age neonates have begun to report their aggregate results. We examine the results of those trials, collectively referred to as the Neonatal Oxygenation Prospective Meta-analysis or NeOProM. We also discuss the uncertainties that remain and the clinical challenges that lie ahead.

Recent findings

The primary outcome from NeOProM was a composite of death or disability at 18–24 months corrected age. In 2016 the last of these reports was published. Although there were no differences in the primary outcome overall, analyses of secondary outcomes and data subsets following a pulse oximeter revision show significant treatment differences between targeting a lower compared with a higher SpO2.


NeOProM represents the largest collaborative clinical research study of SpO2 targets in extremely low-gestational-age neonates. Although aggregate results give us some insight into the feasibility and efficacy of SpO2 targeting in this population, many questions remain. A patient-level analysis, tracking individual outcomes based on actual SpO2 experienced, may shed some light on these questions. However, finding a single optimal SpO2 range seems unlikely.

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