Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Oxygen saturation and heart rate during delivery room resuscitation of infants <30 weeks’ gestation with air or 100% oxygen
  1. J A Dawson1,2,
  2. C O F Kamlin1,
  3. C Wong1,
  4. A B te Pas1,
  5. C P F O’Donnell3,
  6. S M Donath4,
  7. P G Davis1,2,
  8. C J Morley1,2,5
  1. 1
    Neonatal Services, The Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
  2. 2
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne, Australia
  3. 3
    National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  4. 4
    Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Unit, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia
  5. 5
    Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Jennifer Dawson, Neonatal Services, The Royal Women’s Hospital, 20 Flemington Road, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia; jennifer.dawson{at}


Background: Because of concerns about harmful effects of 100% oxygen on newborn infants, air has started to be used for resuscitation in the delivery room.

Objective: To describe changes in preductal oxygen saturation (Spo2) and heart rate (HR) in the first 10 min after birth in very preterm infants initially resuscitated with 100% oxygen (OX100) or air (OX21).

Patients and methods: In July 2006, policy changed from using 100% oxygen to air. Observations of Spo2 and HR before and after the change were recorded whenever a member of the research team was available to attend the birth.

Results: There were 20 infants in the OX100 group and 106 in the OX21 group. In the OX100 group, Spo2 had risen to a median of 84% after 2 min and 94% by 5 min. In the OX21 group, median Spo2 was 31% at 2 min and 54% at 5 min. In the OX21 group, 92% received supplemental oxygen at a median of 5 min; the Spo2 rose to a median of 81% by 6 min. In the first 10 min after birth, 80% and 55% of infants in the OX100 and OX21 groups, respectively, had an Spo2 ⩾95%. Increases in HR over the first 10 min were very similar in the two groups.

Conclusions: Most very preterm infants received supplemental oxygen if air was used for the initial resuscitation. In these infants, the use of backup 100% oxygen and titration against Spo2 resulted in a similar course to “normal” term and preterm infants. Of the infants resuscitated with 100% oxygen, 80% had Spo2 ⩾95% during the first 10 min. The HR changes in the two groups were very similar.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: None.

  • Patient consent: Parental consent obtained.