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Effect of CO2 and 100% O2 on cerebral blood flow in preterm infants.


To determine 1) the effect of arterial CO2 change on the neonatal cerebral circulation and 2) whether 100% O2 would produce significant decrease in cerebral blood flow (CBF), we studied 24 preterm infants to explain the late (5 min) hyperventilation observed in them during hyperoxia. Of these, 12 were studied before and during inhalation of 2-3% CO2 and 12 before and during the inhalation of 100% O2. We measured CBF by a modification of the venous occlusion plethysmography technique and found that CBF increased 7.8% per Torr alveolar carbon dioxide pressure change and that it decreased 15% with 100% O2. These findings suggest that 1) CO2 is an important regulator of CBF in the perterm infant, 2) CBF-CO2 sensitivity in these infants may be greater than in adult subjects, 3) 100% O2 reduced CBF significantly, and 4) a decrease in CBF during administration of 100% O2 may be at least partially responsible for the increase in ventilation with hyperoxia.

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