Objective: Determine whether higher targeted oxygen levels are associated with reduced incidence of pulmonary hypertension (PH) and elevated pulmonary vascular resistance (PVR) in extremely premature infants.
Study design: Retrospective chart review of 252 extremely preterm infants (<29 weeks), who underwent echocardiogram prior to discharge. PH rates were compared during periods (June 2012-May 2015 and June 2015-April 2016) when lower (88-92%) or higher (90-95%) oxygen saturation targets were used. PH was determined on echocardiography. The ratio of pulmonary artery acceleration time to right ventricular ejection time was computed, with values <0.31 indicative of elevated PVR. Survival analysis compared the effects of oxygen saturation group on development/resolution of PH and elevated PVR.
Results: The higher saturation group had significantly lower risk of developing PH (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.50, 95%CI 0.26-0.95; P = 0.03) or elevated PVR (HR = 0.55, 95%CI 0.38-0.81; P = 0.002), compared to the lower oxygen saturation group. Median time to PH development was significantly shorter in the lower saturation group than in the higher saturation group (5 days vs 12 days; P = 0.02), as was time to development of elevated PVR (4 days vs 6 days; P < 0.001). Duration of PH (P = 0.12) and elevated PVR (P = 0.86) did not differ significantly between groups. Cumulative incidence of PH (P = 0.04) and elevated PVR (P = 0.01) at 36 weeks post-menstrual age was significantly lower in the high saturation group compared to the lower saturation group.
Conclusion: Higher targeted oxygen saturation was associated with reduced risk of PH or elevated PVR in extremely preterm infants compared to lower oxygen saturation target.