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J Pediatr. 2007 Apr;150(4):418-21.

Pre-ductal and post-ductal O2 saturation in healthy term neonates after birth.

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Division of Neonatology, Department of Pedicatrics, Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.



To determine the pre- and post-ductal oxygen saturation (SpO2) levels during the first minutes after birth in healthy term infants.


In a prospective cohort study, sensors were placed on the right hand and on 1 foot of the neonate. Pre- and post-ductal SpO2 levels were recorded during the first 15 minutes after birth. Exclusion criteria were gestational age <37 weeks, presence of risk factors for asphyxia, emergency cesarean delivery (C/D), congenital anomalies, and multiple pregnancies. Infants who were treated with O2 or positive pressure ventilation were also excluded from the study.


The mean (SD) gestational age of the 110 infants was 39 weeks (1.1), and the mean birth weight was 3340 grams (359). At 5 minutes, the mean pre-ductal SpO2 level was 89% (7), and the mean post-ductal SpO2 level was 81% (10). Pre- and post-ductal SpO2 levels were significantly different during the first 15 minutes after birth. The SpO2 level was lower in babies delivered by C/D in comparison to babies born by vaginal delivery.


In healthy newly born infants, oxygen saturation rises slowly and does not usually reach 90% in the first 5 minutes of life. A gradient between pre- and post-ductal SpO2 levels remains significant for the first 15 minutes of life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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