BACKGROUND: Near-infrared spectroscopy is used in the assessment of regional splanchnic oxygen saturation (rsSO2), but solid reference values are scarce. We aimed to establish reference values of rsSO2 for preterm infants during the first week after birth, both crude and modeled based on predictors.
METHODS: We included infants with gestational age (GA) <32 weeks and/or birth weight <1200 g. We excluded infants who developed necrotizing enterocolitis or sepsis or who died. In the first week after birth, we determined a daily 2-h mean of rsSO2 to assess its associations with sex, GA, postnatal age (PNA), small-for-gestational age (SGA) status, patent ductus arteriosus, hemoglobin, nutrition, and head circumference at birth and translated those into a prediction model.
RESULTS: We included 220 infants. On day 1, the mean ± SD rsSO2 value was 48.2% ± 16.6. The nadir of rsSO2 was on day 4 (38.7% ± 16.6 smoothed line) to 5 (37.4%±17.3, actual data), after which rsSO2 increased to 44.2% ± 16.6 on day 7. The final model of the reference values of rsSO2 included the following coefficients: rsSO2 = 3.2 - 7.0 × PNA + 0.8 × PNA2 - 4.0 × SGA + 1.8 × GA.
CONCLUSIONS: We established reference values of rsSO2 for preterm infants during the first week after birth. GA, PNA, and SGA affect these values and need to be taken into account.
IMPACT: Regional splanchnic oxygen saturation is lower in infants with a lower gestational age and in small-for-gestational age infants. Regional splanchnic oxygen saturation decreases with a higher postnatal age until day 4 after birth and then increases until day 7 after birth. Gestational age, postnatal age, and small-for-gestational age status affect regional splanchnic oxygen saturation and need to be taken into account when interpreting regional splanchnic oxygen saturations using NIRS. Reference values for infant regional splanchnic oxygen saturation can be computed with a formula based on these variables, as provided by this study.