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Adherence to oxygen saturation targets increased in preterm infants when a higher target range and tighter alarm limits were introduced

Journal article
Authors S. Klevebro
U. Hamar
G. Holmstrom
M. Bottai
Ann Hellström
B. Hallberg
Published in Acta Paediatrica
Volume 108
Issue 9
Pages 1584-1589
ISSN 0803-5253
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Pages 1584-1589
Language en
Keywords Oxygenation, Preterm infants, Pulse oximetry, Retinopathy of prematurity, Saturation target, european consensus guidelines, respiratory-distress-syndrome, birth-weight infants, retinopathy, prematurity, management, Pediatrics
Subject categories Pediatrics


Aim European consensus guidelines published in May 2013 recommended a target peripheral capillary oxygen saturation (SpO(2)) range of 90-95% for preterm infants. These were incorporated into guidelines at the Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden, in November 2013. This study compared clinical practice before and after those local guidelines. Methods We included infants who were born between 23 + 0 and 30 + 6 weeks from January 1, 2013 to December, 31 2015 and received intensive care in two Karolinska units. The lower saturation target of 88-92% and alarm limits of 85-95% used before November 2013 were compared to the new higher saturation target of 90-95% and alarm limits of 89-96%. Results Data from 399 infants were analysed. The mean SpO(2) was 92.4% with the higher target (n = 301) and 91.1% with the lower target (n = 98). Using the higher instead of lower target meant that the SpO(2) was within the prescribed target range more frequently (51% versus 30%) and the proportion of time with SpO(2) >95% was increased by 9% (95% confidence interval 7-11%, p < 0.001). Conclusion The higher saturation target and tighter alarm limits led to higher mean oxygen saturation, increased adherence to the target and increased time with hyperoxaemia.

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