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Perfusion index is a continuous parameter provided by pulse oximetry and might be useful for evaluating hemodynamic changes at birth and identifying transitional problems. The objective was to describe perfusion index values in term infants immediately after birth. Perfusion index of 71 healthy term born infants were recorded during the first 10 min after birth, using a pulse oximetry sensor placed preductally. A Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to compare between time points. No significant trend in perfusion index could be observed in term-delivered infants. There was a significant difference between 2 and 3 min (2.4 (1.6-5.0) vs. 2.3 (1.6-3.7), p = 0.05) and between 3 and 4 min after birth (2.3 (1.6-3.7) vs. 2.1 (1.4-3.2), p <0.001). There was no significant change in median PI values in the following 8 min. CONCLUSION: Perfusion index does not change significantly during transition at birth in healthy term infants born by normal vaginal delivery or cesarean section. Large variation in perfusion index causes monitoring this parameter to have limited value.
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