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Neonatal resuscitation adhering to oxygen saturation guidelines in asphyxiated lambs with meconium aspiration



The Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) recommends upper and lower limits of preductal saturations (SpO2) extrapolated from studies in infants resuscitated in room air. These limits have not been validated in asphyxia and lung disease.


Seven control term lambs delivered by cesarean section were ventilated with 21% O2. Thirty lambs with asphyxia with meconium aspiration were randomly assigned to resuscitation with 21% O2 (n = 6), 100% O2 (n = 6), or initiation with 21% O2 followed by variable FIO2 to maintain NRP target SpO2 ranges (n = 18). Hemodynamic and ventilation parameters were recorded for 15 min.


Control lambs maintained preductal SpO2 near the lower limit of NRP target range. Asphyxiated lambs had low SpO2 (38 ± 2%), low arterial pH (6.99 ± 0.01), and high PaCO2 (96 ± 7 mm Hg) at birth. Resuscitation with 21% O2 resulted in SpO2 values below the target range with low pulmonary blood flow (Qp) compared to variable FIO2 group. The increase in PaO2 and Qp with variable FIO2 resuscitation was similar to control lambs.


Maintaining SpO2 as recommended by NRP by actively adjusting inspired O2 leads to effective oxygenation and higher Qp in asphyxiated lambs with lung disease. Our findings support the current NRP SpO2 guidelines for O2 supplementation during resuscitation of an asphyxiated neonate.

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