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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-57646

Greisen, G; Leung, T; Wolf, M (2011). Has the time come to use near-infrared spectroscopy as a routine clinical tool in preterm infants undergoing intensive care? Philosophical Transactions. Series A, Mathematical, Physical, and Engineering Sciences, 369(1955):4440-4451.

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Several instruments implementing spatially resolved near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to monitor tissue oxygenation are now approved for clinical use. The neonatal brain is readily assessible by NIRS and neurodevelopmental impairment is common in children who were in need of intensive care during the neonatal period. It is likely that an important part of the burden of this handicap is due to brain injury induced by hypoxia-ischaemia during intensive care. In particular, this is true for infants born extremely preterm. Thus, monitoring of cerebral oxygenation has considerable potential benefit in this group. The benefit, however, should be weighed against the disturbance to the infant, against the limitations imposed on clinical care and against costs. The ultimate way of demonstrating the 'added value' is by a randomized controlled trial. Cerebral oximetry must reduce the risk of a clinically relevant endpoint, such as death or neurodevelopmental handicap. We estimate that such a trial should recruit about 4000 infants to have the power to detect a reduction in brain injury by one-fifth. This illustrates the formidable task of providing first-grade evidence for the clinical value of diagnostic methods. Is it a window of opportunity for the establishment of a rational basis before another technology is added to an already overly complex newborn intensive care?


44 citations in Web of Science®
40 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neonatology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Deposited On:01 Feb 2012 20:40
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:31
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
Publisher DOI:10.1098/rsta.2011.0261
PubMed ID:22006900

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