Objective: To test the hypothesis that resuscitation of asphyxiated infants with pure oxygen causes hyperoxemia and oxidative stress.Study design Asphyxiated term newborn infants (n = 106) were randomly resuscitated with room air (RAR = 51) or 100% oxygen (OxR = 55). The Apgar score, time of the first cry, and establishment of a sustained pattern of respiration were recorded. Assays performed included: blood gases; reduced glutathione (GSH) and oxidized glutathione (GSSG) in whole blood; glutathione-related enzyme activities; and superoxide dismutase activity (SOD) in erythrocytes.
Results: The RAR group needed less time of ventilation for resuscitation (5.3 +/- 1.5 vs 6.8 +/- 1.2 min; P <.05). Pure oxygen caused hyperoxemia (PO(2), 126.3 +/- 21.8 mm Hg) that did not occur with the use of room air (PO(2), 72.2 +/- 6.8 mm Hg). GSH was decreased and GSSG, the glutathione cycle enzymes, and SOD activities were increased in both asphyxiated groups. However, the 100% oxygen-resuscitated group showed significantly greater alterations that correlated positively with hyperoxemia.
Conclusions: Asphyxia causes oxidative stress in the perinatal period, and resuscitation with 100% oxygen causes hyperoxemia and increased oxidative stress. Because there are no advantages to resuscitation with 100% oxygen, room air may be preferred under certain circumstances for the resuscitation of asphyxiated neonates.