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Clin Pediatr (Phila). 1987 Jul;26(7):325-31.

A practical approach to diagnosis and immediate care of the cyanotic neonate. Stabilization and preparation for transfer to level III nursery.


The diagnostic and therapeutic strategies described above have been presented sequentially for the sake of clarity, but in practice should be performed as quickly as possible in any infant who remains cyanotic despite receiving 100% oxygen. The practitioner must proceed with emergent stabilization of the infant with specific therapies for identified problems and nonspecific therapies for suspected problems, recognizing that the coexistence of two or more pathophysiologic entities is not uncommon. By the time of transport, the practitioner may have laid the groundwork for further diagnostic procedures and therapies by having already classified the infant into one of four primary pathophysiologic categories, as outlined in Table 4. Although congenital heart disease may be highly suspected, confirmation may not be possible without echocardiography. The practitioner, however, should not be discouraged by failure to achieve a specific etiologic diagnosis, despite careful analysis of all the information obtained from diagnostic evaluations prior to transport. Hypoxemia refractory to oxygen administration and assisted ventilation is found in many clinical conditions and results from a variety of pathophysiological disorders. The pediatrician caring for such an infant has primary responsibility for stabilization and preparation for transport of the infant to a Level III facility, and for communicating information about diagnostic procedures and therapeutic maneuvers that might facilitate extended resuscitative efforts by the neonatologist accepting responsibility for the transport and subsequent care of the infant.

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