Preterm infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) discharged with supplemental oxygen showed slightly better weight and significantly improved weight-for-length scores, but were more likely to use medical resources and had rates of neurodevelopmental impairment similar to those of infants not discharged with oxygen, according to research published in Pediatrics.
“With this study, we provide important and novel information that may aid the decision of whether to discharge an infant with supplemental oxygen, particularly for those infants who might be weaned off by some clinicians and not by others,” wrote Sara B. DeMauro, MD, MSCE, of University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and her colleagues. “This study helps to clarify, both for clinicians and parents, the potential benefits and harms that might be expected from home oxygen therapy among the subset of infants for whom the best course of action is unclear.”
Dr. DeMauro and her colleagues examined 1,039 preterm infants with BPD given supplemental oxygen by nasal cannula between January 2006 and December 2014, who were propensity matched to infants in a control group with a similar severity of BPD who were not discharged with oxygen. The infants were born at less than 27 weeks’ gestation and began receiving oxygen therapy or respiratory support at 36 weeks’ postmenstrual age. These infants were then measured for growth, neurodevelopment, and resource use from discharge to follow-up at 22-26 months corrected age.
At follow-up, infants discharged with oxygen showed marginal weight improvement scores (adjusted mean difference, 0.11) and significantly improved weight-for-length scores (adjusted mean difference, 0.13), but they had rates of neurodevelopmental impairment similar to those of infants with BPD discharged without supplemental oxygen. In addition, infants discharged with oxygen had a greater likelihood of rehospitalization due to respiratory illness (adjusted relative risk, 1.33), use of asthma or BPD medication (adjusted RR, 1.30), and use of medical equipment such as a pulse oximeter (adjusted RR, 2.94).
The researchers noted that their study’s design prevented them from examining all infants with BPD discharged with supplemental oxygen and what factors influenced discharge of infants with supplemental oxygen, as well as the effects of various durations of supplemental oxygen exposure.
“Definitive evaluation of the risk/benefit ratio of this therapy will require prospective controlled trials,” Dr. DeMauro and her colleagues wrote. “Such research will facilitate a more evidence-based approach to clinical decisions about postdischarge care of infants with BPD.”
This study received funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network and the National Institutes of Health. The authors reported no relevant financial disclosures.
SOURCE: DeMauro SB et al. Pediatrics. 2019 Apr 11. doi: 10.1542/peds.2018-2956.