Objective: To evaluate the predictive value of cumulative oxygen exposure thresholds over the first 2 postnatal weeks, linking them to bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and 1-year pulmonary morbidity and lung function in extremely low gestational age newborns.
Study design: Infants (N = 704) enrolled in the Prematurity and Respiratory Outcomes Program, a multicenter prospective cohort study, that survived to discharge were followed through their neonatal intensive care unit hospitalization to 1-year corrected age. Cumulative oxygen exposure (OxygenAUC14) thresholds were derived from univariate models of BPD, stratifying infants into high-, intermediate-, and low-oxygen exposure groups. These groups were then used in multivariate logistic regressions to prospectively predict post-prematurity respiratory disease (PRD), respiratory morbidity score (RMS) in the entire cohort, and pulmonary function z scores (N = 108 subset of infants) at 1-year corrected age.
Results: Over the first 14 postnatal days, infants exposed to high oxygen averaged ≥33.1% oxygen, infants exposed to intermediate oxygen averaged 29.1%-33.1%, and infants exposed to low oxygen were below both cutoffs. In multivariate models, infants exposed to high oxygen showed increased PRD and RMS, whereas infants exposed to intermediate oxygen demonstrated increased moderate/severe RMS. Infants in the high/intermediate groups had decreased forced expiratory volume at 0.5 seconds/forced vital capacity ratio.
Conclusions: OxygenAUC14 establishes 3 thresholds of oxygen exposure that risk stratify infants early in their neonatal course, thereby predicting short-term (BPD) and 1-year (PRD, RMS) respiratory morbidity. Infants with greater OxygenAUC14 have altered pulmonary function tests at 1 year of age, indicating early evidence of obstructive lung disease and flow limitation, which may predispose extremely low gestational age newborns to increased long-term pulmonary morbidity.