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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