Automated Oxygen Control for Preterm Infants On Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): Phase 1/2 Trial In Southwest Nigeria

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    Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Updated on 24 October 2022


One in ten babies are born preterm (<37 weeks gestation) globally. Complications of prematurity are the leading cause of death in children under 5 years, with the highest mortality rate in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Low flow oxygen, and respiratory support - where an oxygen/air mixture is delivered under pressure - are life saving therapies for these babies. Bubble Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (bCPAP) is the mainstay of neonatal respiratory support in SSA.

Oxygen in excess can damage the immature eyes (Retinopathy of Prematurity [ROP]) and lungs (Chronic Lung Disease) of preterm babies. Historically, in well-resourced settings, excessive oxygen administration to newborns has been associated with 'epidemics' of ROP associated blindness. Today, with increasing survival of preterm babies in SSA, and increasing access to oxygen and bCPAP, there are concerns about an emerging epidemic of ROP. Manually adjusting the amount of oxygen provided to an infant on bCPAP is difficult, and fearing the risks of hypoxaemia (low oxygen levels) busy health workers often accept hyperoxaemia (excessive oxygen levels). Some well resourced neonatal intensive care units globally have adopted Automated Oxygen Control (AOC), where a computer uses a baby's oxygen saturation by pulse oximetry (SpO2) to frequently adjust how much oxygen is provided, targetting a safe SpO2 range. This technology has never been tested in SSA, or partnered with bCPAP devices that would be more appropriate for SSA.

This study aims to compare AOC coupled with a low cost and robust bCPAP device (Diamedica Baby CPAP) - OxyMate - with manual control of oxygen for preterm babies on bCPAP in two hospitals in south west Nigeria. The hypothesis is that OxyMate can significantly and safely increase the proportion of time preterm infants on bCPAP spend in safe oxygen saturation levels.


Trial description: A randomised cross-over trial of manual versus automated control of oxygen (OxyMate) for preterm infants on bCPAP. This trial will use an established technology (automated oxygen titration algorithm, VDL1.1) partnered with a low-cost bCPAP device in a low-resource setting. It will involve preterm infants requiring bCPAP respiratory support with allocation to OxyMate or manual oxygen control for consecutive 24 h periods in random sequence.

Objectives: This trial seeks to examine safety and potential efficacy of our automated oxygen configuration (OxyMate) in preterm infants in a setting characterised by financial constraints, workforce limitations, and underdeveloped infrastructure, and assess contextual feasibility and appropriateness to inform future definitive clinical trials and product development.

Condition Neonatal Respiratory Distress Related Conditions, Neonatal Respiratory Failure, Prematurity, Oxygen Toxicity
Treatment Manual Oxygen Control, OxyMate
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05508308
SponsorMurdoch Childrens Research Institute
Last Modified on24 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

<34 weeks gestation (or birth weight < 2kg if gestation not known)
≥12 hours old
Receiving CPAP support and supplemental oxygen (FiO2 >0.21) for respiratory insufficiency
Projected requirement for CPAP and oxygen therapy for > 48 hours

Exclusion Criteria

Deemed likely to fail CPAP in the next 48 hours
Deemed clinically unstable or recommended for palliation by treating team
Cause of hypoxaemia likely to be non-respiratory - e.g. cyanotic heart disease
Informed consent from parent/guardians not obtained
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