AIMS: To determine if decreasing arterial blood saturation from 95% to 90% could cause vasoconstriction of the pulmonary vasculature and dilatation of a patent ductus arteriosus in preterm newborn infants with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). METHODS: Doppler echocardiographic studies were compared at 95% and 90% pulse oxygen saturation (SpO2) in 13 preterm infants aged 61.7 (4.3) hours with RDS and Doppler echocardiographic evidence of tricuspid regurgitation. RESULTS: The mean (SD)Doppler echocardiographic indices determined at 95% were heart rate (146 (3.60) beats per minute), acceleration time of the velocity wave forms of the pulmonary artery (PAAT) (51.8 (2.5) milliseconds), ratio of PAAT to right ventricular ejection time (ET) (0.26 (0.02)), diameter of the ductus arteriosus (2.6 (0.6) mm), pulmonary blood flow (0.33 (0.03) l/minute) and the left ventricular shortening fraction (SF)(0.4 (0.02)%). The ascending aorta flow velocity wave form was used for the calculation of pulmonary blood flow. The right ventricular to right atrial systolic pressure gradient calculated using the peak velocity of the tricuspid regurgitation jet was 26.7 (7.4) mm Hg. CONCLUSIONS: A decrease from 95% to 90% SpO2 did not have any effect on the pulmonary circulatory haemodynamics nor the ductus arteriosus.
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