Pulse oximeter saturation target limits for preterm infants: a survey among European neonatal intensive care units

Huizing, Maurice; Villamor-Martínez, Eduardo; Villamor, Eduardo; Vento, Máximo; Huizing, Maurice J; Villamor-Martínez, Eduardo; Vento, Máximo
January 2017
European Journal of Pediatrics;Jan2017, Vol. 176 Issue 1, p51
Academic Journal
journal article
The optimum range of pulse oximeter oxygen saturation (SpO2) for preterm infants remains controversial. Between November 2015 and February 2016, we conducted a web-based survey aimed to investigate the current and former practices on SpO2 targets in European neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). We obtained valid responses from 193 NICUs, treating 8590 newborns ≤28 weeks per year, across 27 countries. Forty different saturation ranges were reported, ranging from 82-93 to 94-99%. The most frequently utilized SpO2 ranges were 90-95% (28%), 88-95% (12%), 90-94% (5%), and 91-95% (5%). A total of 156 NICUs (81%) changed their SpO2 limits over the last 10 years. The most frequently reported former limits were 88-92% (18%), 85-95% (9%), 88-93 (7%), and 85-92% (6%). The NICUs that increased their SpO2 ranges expected to obtain a reduction in mortality. A 54% of the NICUs found the scientific evidence supporting their SpO2 targeting policy strong or very strong.Conclusion: We detected a high degree of heterogeneity in pulse oximeter SpO2 target limits across European NICUs. The currently used limits are 3 to 5% higher than the former limits, and the most extreme limits, such as lower below 85% or upper above 96%, have almost been abandoned. What is Known: • For preterm infants requiring supplemental oxygen, the optimum range of pulse oximeter oxygen saturation (SpO 2 ) to minimize organ damage, without causing hypoxic injury, remains controversial. What is New: • This survey highlights the lack of consensus regarding SpO 2 target limits for preterm infants among European neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). We detected 40 different SpO 2 ranges, and even the most frequently reported range (i.e., 90-95%) was used in only 28% of the 193 respondent NICUs. • A total of 156 NICUs (81%) changed their SpO 2 limits over the last 10 years. The currently used limits are 3 to 5% higher than the former limits, and the most extreme limits, such as lower below 85% or upper above 96%, have almost been abandoned.


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