Pulse Oximetry in Newborn Infants with Birth Weights of 620 to 4285 Grams Receiving Dopamine and Dobutamine

Smeeta Sardesai, Manuel Durand, Cindy McEvoy, Cage Johnson, Jean Michel Maarek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The reliability of pulse oximetry in neonates receiving inotropic drugs because of hypotension and microcirculatory perfusion failure has not been well documented. Signal loss of the pulse oximeter in adult patients receiving dopamine infusions has been reported. To evaluate the relationship between pulse oximeter oxygen saturation (SaO2) and co-oximeter directly measured oxygen saturation, we studied 30 infants in the first 4 days of life (birth weight 620 to 4285 gm, gestational age 26 to 43 weeks) receiving dopamine (30 patients) and dobutamine (10 infants). Infants had normal blood pressures at the time of the study. To minimize motion artifact a Nellcor N-200 (Nellcor Incorporated, Hayward, Calif.) oximeter with electrocardiographic synchronization was used. We compared pulse oximeter values with simultaneous arterial samples analyzed for oxygen saturation with an IL 282 co-oximeter (Instrumentation Laboratory, Inc., Lexington, Mass.). The values were corrected for spuriously elevated carboxyhemoglobin levels and fetal hemoglobin level was quantitatively measured. The partial pressure of oxygen at 90% hemoglobin saturation for each patient was calculated. The dosage of dopamine ranged from 4 to 28 μg/kg per minute and the dosage of dobutamine varied from 4 to 24 μg/kg per minute. Over a wide range of values for mean blood pressure (23 to 66 mm Hg), partial pressure of oxygen at 90% hemoglobin saturation (43.1 to 70.2 mm Hg), and oxygen saturation (SaO2 80% to 100%), linear regression analysis revealed a close correlation between pulse oximeter SaO2 and co-oximeter SaO2 values (r = 0.83, standard error of the estimate 2.2%, p < 0.0001). Our findings indicate that pulse oximetry can be used reliably for continuous oxygen monitoring in normotensive neonates with an SaO2 of 80% to 100% who are receiving dopamine and dobutamine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-34
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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