Background and aims Peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2) decreases during general hypoxia and painful events in preterm infants. Skin conductance responses per sec (SCR/sec) increase during painful procedures. The purpose of this observational study was to examine if SCR/sec can help to diagnose if SpO2 is due to general hypoxia or painful events.
Methods Ten infants, diagnosed as ventilator unstable with birth weight 1248 (± 710) grams, gestational age 30 (± 5) weeks and at postnatal day 3 (± 1) were observed for 1 h when venous blood sampling was performed. SpO2, SCR/sec, heart rate (HR), and respiratory rate (RR) were recorded each 2nd minute and during the painful and hypoxic events (defined as SpO2 lower than 80%). The variables were studied during the painful and hypoxic events as well as in situations without events. Non-parametric tests for within individual variables (Friedman’s Anova) were used.
Results There were statistical differences for physiological measures during the no- painful- and hypoxic events; mean (SD):
Conclusion SCR/sec does not increase during SpO2 and may be used to differ between pain and general hypoxia in preterm infants.