Five randomized controlled trials comparing lower (85-89%) versus higher (91-95%) pulse oximeter saturation (SpO2) targets for extremely preterm infants have now been reported from the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. These trials included more than 4,800 infants, and they provide robust evidence to permit comparison of these target ranges and consider the next steps for clinicians and researchers. The lower SpO2 range was associated with a significant increase in the risk of death. There was no significant difference between the two target ranges in the rate of disability at 18-24 months, including blindness. A significant difference between groups in the risk of the composite primary outcome of death or disability in favour of the higher SpO2 range was mainly attributable to the difference between groups in the risk of death. The lower target range did not reduce bronchopulmonary dysplasia or severe visual impairment, but it did increase the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis requiring surgery or causing death. The trials provide no reason to prefer SpO2 targets below 90% and indicate the importance of more trials to see if a further survival advantage can be identified. The safety of targets above 95% has not been evaluated. The five trials were designed to be similar to facilitate an individual patient data meta-analysis, and this Neonatal Oxygen Prospective Meta-Analysis (NeOProM) may provide further insights.
© 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel.