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J Pediatr Surg. 1984 Aug;19(4):380-4.

Alveolar-arterial oxygen gradients versus the Neonatal Pulmonary Insufficiency Index for prediction of mortality in ECMO candidates.


Current selection criteria necessary for intelligent application of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in hypoxic neonates remains controversial. Both the Neonatal Pulmonary Insufficiency Index (NPII) and serial alveolar-arterial oxygenation gradient measurements (A-a)Do2 have been recommended. Accordingly, an analysis of 50 consecutive severely hypoxic neonates was undertaken to assess the predictive value of (A-a)Do2 determinations and NPII in discriminating survivors from non-survivors. These infants with meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS), congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), or persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) required maximum mechanical ventilation for hypoxia. Pharmacologic manipulation of pulmonary vascular resistance was attempted in 83%. If postductal (A-a)Do2 remained greater than or equal to 620 torr despite 12 hours of maximum medical therapy, mortality was 100%; however, 35% of nonsurvivors were unfortunately excluded. (A-a)Do2 greater than or equal to 600 torr for 12 hours demonstrated 93.8% mortality, and only 12% of all mortalities were thus excluded. Among nonsurvivors successfully hyperventilated, the NPII could not predict mortality. Ideal selection criteria must exclude those who would otherwise survive without ECMO, yet allow early accurate identification of the neonate certain to die. It would appear that serial (A-a)Do2 determinations best permit this identification and thus orderly application of ECMO.

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