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Oxygen saturation profile in healthy preterm infants
  1. S Harigopal1,
  2. H P Satish2,
  3. A F G Taktak3,
  4. K W Southern2,
  5. N J Shaw4
  1. 1Newcastle Neonatal Service, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  2. 2Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital, Liverpool, UK
  3. 3Department of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool, UK
  4. 4Liverpool Women's Hospital, Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sundeep Harigopal, Newcastle Neonatal Service, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK; sundeep.harigopal{at}


Aim To establish a reference range for oxygen saturation (SpO2) in well preterm infants to guide home oxygen therapy using a pulse oximeter and Pulse Oximetry Data Analysis Software (PODS).

Methods SpO2 and heart-rate profiles of healthy preterm infants receiving mechanical ventilation for less than 6 h and supplemental oxygen for less than 48 h were monitored using a pulse oximeter. The stored data were downloaded from the monitor to a personal computer as individual files. Each infant's files of SpO2 were subsequently displayed in graphic form, and a reference range was constructed using dedicated software, PODS.

Results 43 infants were studied. The median value of all infants mean SpO2 values was 95% (range 92–99%). The median duration of saturations less than 85% and between 85% and 90 % were 1% and 2% respectively. Using the study group median, 5th and 95th percentiles, a cumulative frequency curve of time against SpO2 value was constructed (representing the reference range of SpO2 profiles in healthy preterm infants).

Conclusion The SpO2 reference range can be used as an easy and practical guide to compare SpO2 profiles of infants on home oxygen therapy and guide their oxygen therapy.

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  • Competing interests The software is available commercially following consultation with the NHS regional innovation hub TrusTECH. It was agreed that the IP is shared between the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Liverpool Children's NHS Trust.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by Liverpool (Paediatric) LREC.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.