HealthDay News — Many infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) fail hypoxia challenge testing (HCT) and cannot be deemed fit to fly, according to a study published online February 15 in Pediatrics.

Susanne Vetter-Laracy, PhD, MD, from the University Hospital Son Espases in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and colleagues determined the earliest fit-to-fly age by testing neonates younger than 1 week in an observational study. The study included three groups: healthy term infants aged ≤7 days (24 infants); preterm infants (≥34 weeks corrected gestational age [CGA]; 62 infants) two to three days before discharge; and preterm infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD; 23 infants). A body plethysmograph with a 15% fraction of inspired oxygen was used to conduct HCT.

The researchers found that one term infant (4.2%), 12 preterm infants without BPD (19.4%), and 16 preterm infants with BPD (69.3%) failed HCT (P < 0.001), with a median decrease in oxygen saturation of 16% (test fail point was <85%). Neither preterm infants without BPD nor term infants had an oxygen saturation <85% at 39 weeks CGA. Seven of 12 term infants with BPD failed HCT.

“Term and preterm infants without BPD born at >39 weeks CGA do not appear to be likely to desaturate during a preflight HCT and so can be deemed fit to fly according to current British Thoracic Society Guidelines,” the authors write.

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