Pulse oximetry in very low birth weight infants

Clin Perinatol. 2014 Dec;41(4):1017-32. doi: 10.1016/j.clp.2014.08.018. Epub 2014 Oct 11.


Pulse oximetry has become ubiquitous and is used routinely during neonatal care. Emerging evidence highlights the continued uncertainty regarding definition of the optimal range to target pulse oximetry oxygen saturation levels in very low birth weight infants. Furthermore, maintaining optimal oxygen saturation targets is a demanding and tedious task because of the frequency with which oxygenation changes, especially in these small infants receiving prolonged respiratory support. This article addresses the historical perspective, basic physiologic principles behind pulse oximetry operation, and the use of pulse oximetry in targeting different oxygen ranges at various time-points throughout the neonatal period.

Keywords: Intensive care; Neonatal; Oxygen saturation; Resuscitation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gestational Age*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / diagnosis
  • Hypoxia / therapy*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Oximetry*
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy / methods*
  • Patient Care Planning