Open Access Open Badges Research article

Automated FiO2-SpO2 control system in Neonates requiring respiratory support: a comparison of a standard to a narrow SpO2 control range

Maria Wilinska1*, Thomas Bachman2, Janusz Swietlinski3, Maria Kostro1 and Marta Twardoch-Drozd3

Author Affiliations

1 Neonatology, The Medical Centre of Postgraduate Education, Marymoncka 99/103, Warsaw 01-813, Poland

2 Economedtrx, PO Box 1269, Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352, USA

3 Ruda Slaska City Hospital, Ruda Slaska, Poland

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BMC Pediatrics 2014, 14:130  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-14-130

Published: 28 May 2014



Managing the oxygen saturation of preterm infants to a target range has been the standard of care for a decade. Changes in target ranges have been shown to significantly impact mortality and morbidity. Selecting and implementing the optimal target range are complicated not only by issues of training, but also the realities of staffing levels and demands. The potential for automatic control is becoming a reality. Results from the evaluation of different systems have been promising and our own experience encouraging.


This study was conducted in two tertiary level newborn nurseries, routinely using an automated FiO2-SpO2 control system (Avea-CLiO2, Yorba Linda CA, USA). The aim of this study was to compare the performance of the system as used routinely (set control range of 87-93% SpO2), to a narrower higher range (90-93%). We employed a 12-hour cross-over design with the order of control ranges randomly assigned for each of up to three days. The primary prospectively identified end points were time in the 87-93% SpO2 target range, time at SpO2 extremes and the distribution of the SpO2 exposure.


Twenty-one infants completed the study. The infants were born with a median EGA of 27 weeks and studied at a median age of 17 days and weight of 1.08 kg. Their median FiO2 was 0.32; 8 were intubated, and the rest noninvasively supported (7 positive pressure ventilation and 6 CPAP). The control in both arms was excellent, and required less than 2 manual FiO2 adjustments per day. There were no differences in the three primary endpoints. The narrower/higher set control range resulted in tighter control (IQR 3.0 vs. 4.3 p < 0.001), and less time with the SpO2 between 80–86 (6.2% vs. 8.4%, p = 0.006).


We found that a shift in the median of the set control range of an automated FiO2-SpO2 control system had a proportional effect on the median and distribution of SpO2 exposure. We found that a dramatic narrowing of the set control range had a disproportionally smaller impact. Our study points to the potential to optimize SpO2 targeting with an automated control system.