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Pediatrics. 2008 Jun;121(6):1083-9. doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-1460.

Resuscitation of preterm neonates by using room air or 100% oxygen.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, University of California, San Diego, California, USA.



In this study of preterm neonates of <32 weeks, we prospectively compared the use of room air versus 100% oxygen as the initial resuscitation gas.


A 2-center, prospective, randomized, controlled trial of neonates with gestational ages of 23 to 32 weeks who required resuscitation was performed. The oxygen group was initially resuscitated with 100% oxygen, with decreases in the fraction of inspired oxygen after 5 minutes of life if pulse oxygen saturation was >95%. The room air group was initially resuscitated with 21% oxygen, which was increased to 100% oxygen if compressions were performed or if the heart rate was <100 beats per minute at 2 minutes of life. Oxygen was increased in 25% increments if pulse oxygen saturation was <70% at 3 minutes of life or <80% at 5 minutes of life.


Twenty-three infants in the oxygen group (mean gestational age: 27.6 weeks; range: 24-31 weeks; mean birth weight: 1013 g; range: 495-2309 g) and 18 in the room air group (mean gestational age: 28 weeks; range: 25-31 weeks; mean birth weight: 1091 g; range: 555-1840 g) were evaluated. Every resuscitated patient in the room air group met rescue criteria and received an increase in the fraction of inspired oxygen by 3 minutes of life, 6 patients directly to 100% and 12 with incremental increases. Pulse oxygen saturation was significantly lower in the room air group from 2 to 10 minutes (pulse oxygen saturation at 3 minutes: 55% in the room air group vs 87% in the oxygen group). Heart rates did not differ between groups in the first 10 minutes of life, and there were no differences in secondary outcomes.


Resuscitation with room air failed to achieve our target oxygen saturation by 3 minutes of life, and we recommend that it not be used for preterm neonates.

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