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Higher Oxygen Levels Improve Preemie Survival: Study
Date:4/27/2011

Australia and the United Kingdom, the so-called BOOST II trial, 13.3 percent of the babies on high concentrations of oxygen died, compared with 21.8 percent of the children on the lower concentration, the researchers reported.

Based on these findings, both the BOOST II trial and a U.S.-based trial called the SUPPORT trial stopped recruiting new patients, the researchers noted.

Stenson's team concluded: "These data allow no inferences about risks and benefits of other targets. Until longer-term data on survival and morbidity are available, we consider it prudent not to target an [oxygen saturation] of 85 to 89 percent in infants born earlier than 28 weeks of gestation."

Bancalari thinks the message for doctors is one of balance.

"We cannot go from one extreme to another; we have to stay in a range that achieves both avoidance of too much or too little oxygen. That's easy to say, but in the clinical setting is very difficult to accomplish," he said.

Bancalari said his neonatal unit never went to the low end of oxygen concentrations, but rather uses a range of 88 percent to 93 percent.

More information

For more on premature birth, visit the March of Dimes.

SOURCES: Eduardo H. Bancalari, M.D., professor, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and director, division of neonatology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; April 28, 2011, New England Journal of Medicine


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