Correlation of free oxygen radical-induced lipid peroxidation with outcome in very low birth weight infants

J Pediatr. 1990 May;116(5):760-4. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3476(05)82668-x.


Lipid peroxidation was measured in 19 very low birth weight infants with respiratory distress syndrome by quantitating ethane and pentane in expired air during the first 5 days postnatally. Despite high levels of inspiratory oxygen, the ethane and pentane output was low within the first 24 hours; thereafter it increased up to 100 and 30 fold, respectively. On days 1 to 3 there was no detectable correlation between lipid peroxidation and fractional inspiratory oxygen. However, on days 4 and 5, lipid peroxidation and fractional inspiratory oxygen showed a significant correlation. Maximal amounts of expired ethane and pentane were significantly higher for patients with a poor outcome (five deaths, six cases of bronchopulmonary dysplasia) than for those with good outcome (eight infants surviving intact) (p less than 0.01). The results imply a role for free oxygen radicals in the pathogenesis of life-threatening complications in the very low birth weight infant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Dioxide / analysis
  • Ethane / analysis
  • Free Radicals
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight / metabolism*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects*
  • Oxygen / analysis
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Oxygen / pharmacology*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Pentanes / analysis
  • Prognosis
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / metabolism
  • Spirometry


  • Free Radicals
  • Pentanes
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • pentane
  • Ethane
  • Oxygen