Effects of 15% oxygen on breathing patterns and oxygenation in infants

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7135.873 (Published 21 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:873

Infants are probably safe in aircraft

  1. Anthony D Milner, Professor of neonatology
  1. United Medical and Dental School, St Thomas's Hospital, London SE1 7EH

    Papers p 887

    An article in this week's issue raises the spectre that exposing a young infant to the relative hypoxia of an airline flight may increase the risk of sudden infant death (p 887).1 The authors base this claim on their findings that exposing 3 month old infants to 15% oxygen for about six hours led to an increase in the time spent in periodic respiration and the number of episodes of mild desaturation. In addition, four of the 34 infants had more prolonged hypoxia, with transcutaneous arterial saturation values below 80% for more than one minute, for which they were given oxygen therapy. They could not predict which infants were likely to develop the more prolonged pattern of desaturation from their baseline cardiorespiratory monitoring. They conclude that further research is urgently needed into the effects of airline flights …

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