Cerebral Oxygenation and Autoregulation in Preterm Infants (Early NIRS Study)

Valerie Y. Chock, Soo Hyun Kwon, Namasivayam Ambalavanan, Beau Batton, Leif D. Nelin, Lina F. Chalak, Lu Tian, Krisa P. Van Meurs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine if decreased cerebral oxygenation or altered cerebral autoregulation as measured by near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in the first 96 postnatal hours is associated with an increased risk of death or severe neuroradiographic abnormalities in very preterm infants. Study design: The Early NIRS prospective, multicenter study enrolled very preterm infants with a birth weight of <1250 g from 6 tertiary neonatal intensive care units. Mean arterial blood pressure and cerebral oxygen saturation (Csat) were continuously monitored using a neonatal sensor until 96 hours of age. Moving window correlations between Csat and mean arterial blood pressure determined time periods with altered cerebral autoregulation, and percentiles of correlation were compared between infants with and without the adverse outcome of mortality or severe neuroradiographic abnormalities by early cranial ultrasound. Results: Of 103 subjects with mean gestational age of 26 weeks, 21 (20%) died or had severe neuroradiographic abnormalities. Infants with adverse outcomes had a lower mean Csat (67 ± 9%) compared with those without adverse outcomes (72 ± 7%; P =.02). A Csat of <50% was identified as a cut-point for identifying infants with adverse outcome (area under the curve, 0.76). Infants with adverse outcomes were more likely to have significant positive or negative correlations between Csat and mean arterial blood pressure, indicating impaired cerebral autoregulation (P =.006). Conclusions: Early NIRS monitoring may detect periods of lower cerebral oxygenation and altered cerebral autoregulation, identifying preterm infants at risk for mortality or neuroradiographic injury. An improved understanding of the relationship between altered hemodynamics and cerebral oxygenation may inform future strategies to prevent brain injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-100.e1
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • cerebral autoregulation
  • cerebral oximetry
  • near-infrared spectroscopy
  • preterm infant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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