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neonate, oxygen saturation, pulse oximetry, transition to extrauterine life



  1. Verklan, M. Terese PhD


PURPOSE: To report a serendipitous finding from a larger investigation describing physiologic variability of healthy and sick pre- and full-term neonates transitioning to extrauterine life in whom the oxygen arterial saturations rose to 90% very quickly.


SUBJECTS: Thirty-four healthy pre- and full-term neonates and 40 sick pre- and full-term neonates.


DESIGN: Descriptive, comparative.


Methods: Within the first 15-30 seconds of life, a pulse oximeter probe was placed on the dorsum of the neonate's foot. The signal was uploaded from the Hewlett Packard Viridia cardiopulmonary/oxygen saturation monitor to a data acquisition module at the bedside. Healthcare personnel performed their routine caregiving procedures for the neonate beginning transition to extrauterine life. They were at liberty to administer oxygen when they felt it was clinically necessary.


MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Oxygen saturation as measured by pulse oximetry.


PRINCIPAL RESULTS: Oxygen saturation values reached higher levels much faster for all groups of neonates than what has been previously reported in the literature.


CONCLUSIONS: In light of recent controversies regarding oxygen therapy, the practice of randomly administering oxygen to healthy infants at time of delivery should be examined.