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Benefits of higher oxygen, breathing device persist after infancy
Date:12/27/2012

vous system. These included cerebral palsy, blindness, hearing loss or low scores on tests of infant mental and motor development. The researchers selected this outcome because infants who died before 18 months of age could not be classified as having a neurodevelopmental impairment.

In terms of the primary outcome, the researchers found no differences between the groups.

When the researchers looked at outcome measures separately, however, they did observe differences. The researchers documented higher survival rates among children who received oxygen with higher saturation rates. The study's original findings showed that survivors in this group also had a greater risk of developing retinopathy of prematurity, an eye condition that can impair vision or cause blindness. Although those receiving higher oxygen levels were more likely to have had corrective eye surgery, by the time the children reached 18 to 22 months corrected age -- their age had they been born at the approximate time they were due. The researchers found that there was no difference in the rate of vision problems between the two groups.

"CPAP for infants has been available since the 1970s. This is the first study to compare surfactant treatment to CPAP in a large group of infants, and these results reassure us that CPAP is as good a choice in the first hour of life as traditional methods for very preterm babies who need help breathing," said senior author Rosemary D. Higgins, M.D., of the Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), one of two NIH institutes supporting the study. "We've also confirmed that higher oxygen targets improve survival and don't appear to threaten survivors' vision in the longer term."

The study also received funding from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Their findings appear in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Contact: Robert Bock
bockr@mail.nih.gov
301-496-5133
NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Source:Eurekalert

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