Safe oxygen saturation targeting and monitoring in preterm infants: can we avoid hypoxia and hyperoxia?

Acta Paediatr. 2014 Oct;103(10):1009-18. doi: 10.1111/apa.12692. Epub 2014 Jul 28.


Oxygen is a neonatal health hazard that should be avoided in clinical practice. In this review, an international team of neonatologists and nurses assessed oxygen saturation (SpO2 ) targeting in preterm infants and evaluated the potential weaknesses of randomised clinical trials.

Conclusion: SpO2 of 85-89% can increase mortality and 91-95% can cause hyperoxia and ill effects. Neither of these ranges can be recommended, and wider intermediate targets, such as 87-94% or 88-94%, may be safer.

Keywords: Hyperoxia; Oximetry; Oxygen saturation; Premature infant; Retinopathy of prematurity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hyperoxia / prevention & control*
  • Hypoxia / prevention & control*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / blood*
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal / standards*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Oxygen / blood*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Oxygen