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    To evaluate the mechanisms leading to intermittent hypoxemia (IH) episodes in spontaneously breathing extremely premature infants at 32 weeks and 36 weeks postmenstrual age (PMA). We studied spontaneously breathing premature infants born at 23-28 weeks of gestational age who presented with IH episodes while on noninvasive respiratory support at 32 or 36 weeks PMA. Daytime recordings of arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2), esophageal pressure, respiratory inductive plethysmography of the abdomen, chest wall, and their sum were obtained during 4 hours at 32 weeks and 36 weeks PMA. IH episodes (SpO2 <90% for ≥5 seconds) and severe IH episodes (SpO2 < 80% for ≥5 seconds) were classified as resulting from apnea, active exhalation and breath holding, reduced tidal volume (VT), or reduced respiratory rate (RR) during the preceding 60 seconds. Fifty-one infants with a mean gestational age of 25.9 ± 1.5 weeks and a mean birth weight of 846 ± 185 g were included. Of these, 31 and 41 were included in the analysis at 32 weeks and 36 weeks PMA, respectively. At both 32 weeks and 36 weeks PMA, greater proportions of all IH episodes and severe IH episodes were associated with active exhalation and breath holding than with apnea, reduced RR, or reduced VT. The severity and duration of the IH episodes did not differ between mechanisms. In this group of premature infants, the predominant mechanism associated with daytime IH was active exhalation and breath holding. This etiology is more closely associated with behavioral factors than abnormal respiratory control and can have implications for prevention. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    Alaleh Dormishian, Alini Schott, Ana Cecilia Aguilar, Vicente Jimenez, Eduardo Bancalari, Jose Tolosa, Nelson Claure. Etiology and Mechanism of Intermittent Hypoxemia Episodes in Spontaneously Breathing Extremely Premature Infants. The Journal of pediatrics. 2023 Jul 18;262:113623

    PMID: 37473988

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