Objective: To determine the criteria used in the current practice of neonatology for the initiation of home oxygen therapy in premature infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia and to compare these criteria with the available literature regarding the use of home oxygen therapy.
Study design: Participants in the December 2000 meeting of the Vermont Oxford Network were surveyed regarding their current use of home oxygen therapy for infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia.
Results: Surveys were returned by 181 out of 297 participants. Pulse oximetry saturation (SpO2) thresholds for the initiation of home oxygen therapy varied widely from <84% to <98%. The most common threshold was <90% chosen by only 43% of the respondents. Additionally, 22% of the respondents did not initiate therapy until the oxygen saturation in room air was below 88%. Once on oxygen therapy, the target SpO2 also varied widely from >84% to >98%, with only 27% of respondents aiming for an SpO2 of >94%.
Conclusions: There is a clear lack of consensus among neonatologists regarding the initiation of home oxygen therapy for bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Furthermore, the criteria used for home oxygen therapy varies widely with the majority of neonatologists surveyed using oxygen saturation levels not supported by the literature. We speculate that a significant underutilization of home oxygen therapy exists for infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia.