Struttura Complessa di Pediatria e Neonatologia, Ospedale “S. Giacomo”, Monopoli (Bari)
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Key words: Oxygen, Neonatal intensive care, Air/oxygen mixtures, Oximetry
The article reports the partly exciting, partly tragic and partly confused, anyhow instructive story of the use of oxygen in neonatal intensive care. Oxygen, the “eminently breathable gas”, starts to be used in medicine already by the end of 1700. At the beginning of the last century the first CPAP is invented. In the great exhibition held in Chicago in 1933 the first oxygen tanks are on display. However, the wider and greater use of oxygen produces a new pathology in the preterm infants: retrolenticular fibroplasia, the critical sign of the capacity of oxygen to produce free radicals through the action of xantina oxidase. The story continues with the same caution that the construction of EBM must exercise in such a difficult sector. The latest conclusions on the debate “air/oxygen mixtures in intensive care” are that “it is better to start the intensive care with air, add oxygen only when needed and control the oximetry case by case”.
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