Randomised crossover trial comparing algorithms and averaging times for automatic oxygen control in preterm infants

Christoph E Schwarz, Karen B Kreutzer, Lukas Langanky, Nicole S Wolf, Wolfgang Braun, Marc Paul O'Sullivan, Christian F Poets, Axel R Franz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Automatic control (SPOC) of the fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2), based on continuous analysis of pulse oximeter saturation (SpO2), improves the proportion of time preterm infants spend within a specified SpO2-target range (Target%). We evaluated if a revised SPOC algorithm (SPOCnew, including an upper limit for FiO2) compared to both routine manual control (RMC) and the previously tested algorithm (SPOCold, unrestricted maximum FiO2) increases Target%, and evaluated the effect of the pulse oximeter's averaging time on controlling the SpO2 signal during SPOC periods.

DESIGN: Unblinded, randomised controlled crossover study comparing 2 SPOC algorithms and 2 SpO2 averaging times in random order: 12 hours SPOCnew and 12 hours SPOCold (averaging time 2 s or 8 s for 6 hours each) were compared with 6-hour RMC. A generated list of random numbers was used for allocation sequence.

SETTING: University-affiliated tertiary neonatal intensive care unit, Germany PATIENTS: Twenty-four infants on non-invasive respiratory support with FiO2 >0.21 were analysed (median gestational age at birth, birth weight and age at randomisation were 25.3 weeks, 585 g and 30 days).


RESULTS: Mean (SD) [95% CI] Target% was 56% (9) [52, 59] for RMC versus 69% (9) [65, 72] for SPOCold_2s, 70% (7) [67, 73] for SPOCnew_2s, 71% (8) [68, 74] for SPOCold_8s and 72% (8) [69, 75] for SPOCnew_8s.

CONCLUSIONS: Irrespective of SpO2-averaging time, Target% was higher with both SPOC algorithms compared to RMC. Despite limiting the maximum FiO2, SPOCnew remained significantly better at maintaining SpO2 within target range compared to RMC.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-430
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition
Issue number4
Early online date24 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


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