Oxygen therapy of the newborn from molecular understanding to clinical practice

Pediatr Res. 2019 Jan;85(1):20-29. doi: 10.1038/s41390-018-0176-8. Epub 2018 Sep 14.


Oxygen is one of the most critical components of life. Nature has taken billions of years to develop optimal atmospheric oxygen concentrations for human life, evolving from very low, peaking at 30% before reaching 20.95%. There is now increased understanding of the potential toxicity of both too much and too little oxygen, especially for preterm and asphyxiated infants and of the potential and lifelong impact of oxygen exposure, even for a few minutes after birth. In this review, we discuss the contribution of knowledge gleaned from basic science studies and their implication in the care and outcomes of the human infant within the first few minutes of life and afterwards. We emphasize current knowledge gaps and research that is needed to answer a problem that has taken Nature a considerably longer time to resolve.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / diagnosis
  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / metabolism
  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / physiopathology
  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / therapy*
  • DNA Damage
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Hyperoxia / etiology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Premature Birth*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Inflammation Mediators