Continuous measurement of oxygenation and ventilation status detects sudden changes in the respiratory status in the fragile neonate. Premature and critically ill babies in the NICU are fragile and at risk of sudden changes in oxygenation (pO2) and carbon dioxide (pCO2) levels which can cause severe complications.
In the management of critically ill neonates, measurement of arterial oxygenation is frequently required to prevent hypoxia or hyperoxia. Hypoxia may lead to pulmonary vasoconstriction and pulmonary hypertension. In addition, the resulting alterations in systemic blood flow may lead to neurologic and other organ damage.
The survival rate of critically ill newborns has increased during the last few decades, especially for extremely preterm infants. However, overall morbidity in surviving newborns is still high in many centers.
Care of critically ill newborn patients requires regular measurement of arterial oxygenation levels to avoid or limit the risk of hypoxia or hyperoxia.
The care of the neonate has been a continuous evolving art. In the 1970s and '80s, we had limited continuous monitoring of both oxygen and carbon dioxide.