Background: Chronic lung disease (CLD) of prematurity is associated with significant morbidity, and infants discharged home in oxygen are particularly vulnerable.
Aim: To assess the incidence of acute life threatening events (ALTEs) during 12-month follow-up of CLD infants discharged home receiving supplemental oxygen.
Method: All infants discharged over a one-year period were studied. Pre-discharge oxygen requirements were set on clinical grounds. Before discharge, oxygen saturations were recorded blind using a data-logger. Infant's oxygen requirements, hospital attendances, and details of ALTEs were recorded over the subsequent year.
Results: Sixteen infants were studied. Median (range): birth-weight 938 grams (448 - 1,638); gestational age 28 weeks (24 - 32); discharge oxygen requirement 0.20 litres/minute (0.05 - 0.50). Eight infants subsequently had one or more ALTEs. Discharge oxygen saturation profiles were significantly lower in these infant when compared to those not having ALTEs (p < 0.05), despite receiving supplementary oxygen.
Conclusions: Before discharge home, formal oxygen saturation studies should be performed in infants receiving supplementary oxygen to ensure optimum oxygen delivery.