Early brain and abdominal oxygenation in extremely low birth weight infants

for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants are at risk for end-organ hypoxia and ischemia. Regional tissue oxygenation of the brain and gut as monitored with near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) may change with postnatal age, but normal ranges are not well defined. Methods: A prospective study of ELBW preterm infants utilized NIRS monitoring to assess changes in cerebral and mesenteric saturation (Csat and Msat) over the first week after birth. This secondary study of a multicenter trial comparing hemoglobin transfusion thresholds assessed cerebral and mesenteric fractional tissue oxygen extraction (cFTOE and mFTOE) and relationships with perinatal variables. Results: In 124 infants, both Csat and Msat declined over the first week, with a corresponding increase in oxygen extraction. With lower gestational age, lower birth weight, and 5-min Apgar score ≤5, there was a greater increase in oxygen extraction in the brain compared to the gut. Infants managed with a lower hemoglobin transfusion threshold receiving ≥2 transfusions in the first week had the lowest Csat and highest cFTOE (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Brain oxygen extraction preferentially increased in more immature and anemic preterm infants. NIRS monitoring may enhance understanding of cerebral and mesenteric oxygenation patterns and inform future protective strategies in the preterm ELBW population. Impact: Simultaneous monitoring of cerebral and mesenteric tissue saturation demonstrates the balance of oxygenation between preterm brain and gut and may inform protective strategies.Over the first week, oxygen saturation of the brain and gut declines as oxygen extraction increases.A low hemoglobin transfusion threshold is associated with lower cerebral saturation and higher cerebral oxygen extraction compared to a high hemoglobin transfusion threshold, although this did not translate into clinically relevant differences in the TOP trial primary outcome.Greater oxygen extraction by the brain compared to the gut occurs with lower gestational age, lower birth weight, and 5-min Apgar score ≤5.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1034-1041
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


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