Initial Oxygen Use for Preterm Newborn Resuscitation: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis


The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation prioritized to review the initial fraction of inspired oxygen (Fio2) during the resuscitation of preterm newborns.


This systematic review and meta-analysis provides the scientific summary of initial Fio2 in preterm newborns (<35 weeks’ gestation) who receive respiratory support at birth.


Medline, Embase, Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature were searched between January 1, 1980 and August 10, 2018.


Studies were selected by pairs of independent reviewers in 2 stages with a Cohen’s of 0.8 and 1.0.


Pairs of independent reviewers extracted data, appraised the risk of bias (RoB), and assessed Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation certainty.


Ten randomized controlled studies and 4 cohort studies included 5697 patients. There are no statistically significant benefits of or harms from starting with lower compared with higher Fio2 in short-term mortality (n = 968; risk ratio = 0.83 [95% confidence interval 0.50 to 1.37]), long-term mortality, neurodevelopmental impairment, or other key preterm morbidities. A sensitivity analysis in which 1 study with a high RoB was excluded failed to reveal a reduction in mortality with initial low Fio2 (n = 681; risk ratio = 0.63 [95% confidence interval 0.38 to 1.03]).


The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation certainty of evidence was very low for all outcomes due to RoB, inconsistency, and imprecision.


The ideal initial Fio2 for preterm newborns is still unknown, although the majority of newborns ≤32 weeks’ gestation will require oxygen supplementation.

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