Objectives: To study the incidence of chronic oxygen dependency (COD) among ventilated survivors born at 24-32 weeks gestation from 1986 to 1994 and to identify antenatal and neonatal factors that may have changed with time; and to identify antenatal and neonatal factors that could contribute to the development of COD in infants born at 24-32 weeks gestation using a case control model.
Methodology: Infants born at 24-32 weeks gestation in one tertiary referral centre between 1986 and 1994 and admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit for respiratory support were studied. Data accumulated prospectively since 1986 in survivors of ventilation were analyzed to identify antenatal and neonatal factors that could have changed with time. The cohort of infants who developed COD were matched for gestation and time of birth with a control group of infants who did not have COD. Significant factors that could have contributed to the development of COD were identified using forward logistic regression analysis.
Results: The number of mothers admitted for threatened premature labour (TPL), and pregnancy induced hypertension decreased with time while the use of antenatal steroids and maternal antibiotics increased. More infants were delivered by Caesarean section during the later years. There was an increase in neonatal septicaemia with time while there were decreases in hyaline membrane disease, pneumothorax, pulmonary interstitial emphysema, use of high peak inspiratory pressure (PIP) and high inspired oxygen. The incidence of COD decreased. The case controlled study revealed a significant positive association between COD and male gender, birthweight less than the 10th percentile for gestation, PIP over 30 cm H2O, septicaemia and significant patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) requiring indomethacin. There was a negative association with TPL.
Conclusions: Further decrease in COD can be achieved only if septicaemia, PDA and the use of high PIP can be avoided. The most effective way of reducing the incidence of COD is by reducing the incidence of prematurity.