Errors in measurement of tcPo2 that misrepresent arterial values are dangerous because they may lead to exposure of the premature to inappropriately high oxygen levels. This is particularly so because, in the field, tcPo2 values are frequently used as estimates of Pao2 values and not merely for oxygen trending. The tcPo2 electrode is such that underestimation of Pao2 is particularly likely at high Pao2 values (> 100 mm Hg) with minor errors in technique or minor variations in electrode design. Recent evidence suggests that small details in design may have rendered some of the current commercial tcPo2 electrodes inaccurate in the hyperoxic range, with consequent risk to premature infants for eye or lung damage. Good performance of a tcPo2 electrode requires certain benchmark standards that are described in this report. Users must thoroughly understand the underlying physiology and the required technique. Limitations of the technique are not widely understood and marketing, in some instances, appears to be misleading regarding the simplicity of the method. Each manufacturer needs to present performance data obtained on the skins of human neonates, throughout the range of Po2 values for which use is recommended, using the device that is being marketed and specifying crucial details such as operating temperature. Despite these limitations, the Task Force believes that this technique, when a quality electrode is used, and performed with care and understanding, is a valuable tool in newborn intensive care.
- Copyright © 1989 by the American Academy of Pediatrics