Aims The goal of the study was to compare preductal SpO2 in the first 10 min after birth in preterm infants treated with non-invasive continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and air with a published nomogram of preductal SpO2 in preterm infants who received no medical intervention, and to examine gender differences.
Design Prospective observational study.
Patients and methods We enrolled infants of ≤32 weeks gestation who were spontaneously breathing with heart rate >100 bpm, and treated with face mask CPAP and air during postnatal stabilisation. SpO2 limits were targeted at ≥75% at 5 min and ≥85% at 10 min and heart rate at >100 bpm. FIO2 was titrated against SpO2. Preductal SpO2, airway pressure and FIO2 were recorded with a data acquisition system from birth until stabilisation. Babies receiving supplemental oxygen (>21%), positive pressure ventilation, were intubated and/or received chest compressions or drugs were excluded.
Results Measurements were obtained in 102 babies with median gestational age of 29 (range: 24–31) weeks. Median SpO2 was significantly higher in the observational group than in the reference range at 3 min (82% (CI 71% to 85%) vs 76% (CI 67% to 83%); p<0.05), at 4 min (87% (CI 81% to 90%) vs 81% (CI 72% to 88%); p<0.05), at 5 min (92% (CI 88% to 95%) vs 86% (CI 80% to 92%); p<0.05), at 6 min (94% (CI 90% to 97%) vs 90% (CI 81% to 95%); p<0.05), at 7 min (95% (CI 92% to 97%) vs 92% (CI 85% to 95%); p<0.05), at 8 min (96% (CI 93% to 98%) vs 92% (CI 87% to 96%); p<0.05) and at 9 min (97% (CI 92% to 99%) vs 93% (CI 87% to 96%); p<0.05). Female babies achieved targeted SpO2 significantly earlier than male babies.
Conclusions Preterm babies receiving CPAP and air and especially female subjects achieve reference oxygen saturation more rapidly than spontaneously breathing preterm babies without respiratory aid.
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