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      Arterial oxygen saturation in healthy newborns delivered at term in Cerro de Pasco (4340 m) and Lima (150 m)

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      Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E

      BioMed Central

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          Abstract

          Background

          High altitude is associated with both low pulse oxygen saturation at birth and more pre-term deliveries. The present study was performed to determine pulse oxygen saturation in newborns at term in Cerro de Pasco (4340 m) and Lima (150 m) to test the hypothesis that low pulse oxygen saturation at birth at high altitudes was not observed at term deliveries.

          Methods

          The present study was designed to determine pulse oxygen saturation values through 1 minute to 24 hours and values of Apgar score at 1 and 5 minutes in newborns delivered at term in Cerro de Pasco (4340 m) and Lima (150 m). Pulse oxygen saturation was recorded in 39 newborns from Cerro de Pasco (4340 m) and 131 from Lima (150 m) at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15, 30 minutes and 1, 2, 8 and 24 hours after delivery. Apgar score was assessed at 1 and 5 minutes after birth. Neurological score was assessed at 24 h of birth by Dubowitz exam.

          Results

          Pulse oxygen saturation increased significantly from 1 to 15 min after birth at sea level and from 1 to 30 minutes at Cerro de Pasco. Thereafter, it increased slightly such that at 30 min at sea level and at 60 minutes in Cerro de Pasco it reached a plateau up to 24 hours after birth. At all times, pulse oxygen saturation was significantly higher at sea level than at high altitude (P < 0.01). At 1 minute of life, pulse oxygen saturation was 15% lower at high altitude than at sea level. Apgar score at 1 minute was significantly lower at high altitude (P < 0.05). Neurological score at 24 hours was also lower at high altitude than at sea level. Head circumference, and Apgar score at 5 minutes were similar at sea level and at high altitude (P:NS). Incidence of low birth-weight (<2500 g) at high altitude (5.4%) was similar to that observed at sea level (2.29%) (P:NS). Incidences of low pulse oxygen saturation (<30%), low Apgar score at first minute (<7) and low neurological score at 24 h (<19) were significantly higher at high altitude than at sea level (P < 0.0001; P < 0.0001; and P < 0.001, respectively).

          Conclusion

          From these analyses may be concluded that pulse oxygen saturation at 4340 m was significantly low despite the fact that births occurred at term. Apgar scores at first minute and neurological scores were also lower at high altitudes.

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          Most cited references 33

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          Intrauterine growth restriction, preeclampsia, and intrauterine mortality at high altitude in Bolivia.

          Infant mortality and stillbirth rates in Bolivia are high and birth weights are low compared with other South American countries. Most Bolivians live at altitudes of 2500 m or higher. We sought to determine the impact of high altitude on the frequency of preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, and other pregnancy-related complications in Bolivia. We then asked whether increased preeclampsia and gestational hypertension at high altitude contributed to low birth weight and increased stillbirths. We performed a retrospective cohort study of women receiving prenatal care at low (300 m, Santa Cruz, n = 813) and high altitude (3600 m, La Paz, n = 1607) in Bolivia from 1996 to 1999. Compared with babies born at low altitude, high-altitude babies weighed less (3084 +/- 12 g versus 3366 +/- 18 g, p < 0.01) and had a greater occurrence of intrauterine growth restriction [16.8%; 95% confidence interval (CI): 14.9-18.6 versus 5.9%; 95% CI: 4.2-7.5; p < 0.01]. Preeclampsia and gestational hypertension were 1.7 times (95% CI: 1.3-2.3) more frequent at high altitude and 2.2 times (95% CI: 1.4-3.5) more frequent among primiparous women. Both high altitude and hypertensive complications independently reduced birth weight. All maternal, fetal, and neonatal complications surveyed were more frequent at high than low altitude, including fetal distress (odds ratio, 7.3; 95% CI: 3.9-13.6) and newborn respiratory distress (odds ratio, 7.3; 95% CI: 3.9-13.6; p < 0.01). Hypertensive complications of pregnancy raised the risk of stillbirth at high (odds ratio, 6.0; 95% CI: 2.2-16.2) but not at low altitude (odds ratio, 1.9; 95% CI: 0.2-17.5). These findings suggest that high altitude is an important factor worsening intrauterine mortality and maternal and infant health in Bolivia.
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            The effect of high altitude and other risk factors on birthweight: independent or interactive effects?

            This study examined whether the decline in birth-weight with increasing altitude is due to an independent effect of altitude or an exacerbation of other risk factors. Maternal, paternal, and infant characteristics were obtained from 3836 Colorado birth certificates from 1989 through 1991. Average altitude of residence for each county was determined. None of the characteristics related to birthweight (gestational age, maternal weight gain, parity, smoking, prenatal care visits, hypertension, previous small-for-gestational-age infant, female newborn) interacted with the effect of altitude. Birthweight declined an average of 102 g per 3300 ft (1000 m) elevation when the other characteristics were taken into account, increasing the percentage of low birthweight by 54% from the lowest to the highest elevations in Colorado. High altitude acts independently from other factors to reduce birthweight and accounts for Colorado's high rate of low birthweight.
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              Effects of altitude versus economic status on birth weight and body shape at birth.

              The compelling evidence linking small size at birth with later cardiovascular disease has renewed and amplified a clinical and scientific interest in the determinants of fetal growth. Although the effects of maternal nutrition on fetal growth have been extensively studied, comparatively little is known about the effects of maternofetal hypoxia. This study tested the hypothesis that in highland regions, high altitude rather than maternal economic status is associated with reduced and altered fetal growth by investigating the effects of high altitude versus economic status on birth weight and body shape at birth in Bolivia. Bolivia is geographically and socioeconomically unique. It contains several highland (>3500 m above sea level) and lowland (<500 m) cities that are inhabited by very economically divergent populations. Birth weight, body length, and head circumference were compared between a high- (n = 100) and low- (n = 100) income region of La Paz (3649 m; largest high-altitude city) and a high- (n = 100) and low- (n = 100) income region of Santa Cruz (437 m; largest low-altitude city). In addition, the frequency distribution across the continuum of birth weights was plotted for babies born from high- and low-income families in La Paz and Santa Cruz. Mean birth weights were lower in babies from La Paz than in babies from Santa Cruz in both high- and low-income groups. The cumulative frequency curve across all compiled birth weights was shifted to the left in babies from La Paz compared with those from Santa Cruz, regardless of economic status. The frequency of low birth weight (<2500 g) was higher in babies from La Paz than from Santa Cruz in both high- and low-income groups. In addition, at high altitude but not at low altitude, high income was associated with an increase in the head circumference:birth weight ratio. These findings suggest that high altitude rather than economic status is associated with low birth weight and altered body shape at birth in babies from Bolivia.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Reprod Biol Endocrinol
                Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E
                BioMed Central (London )
                1477-7827
                2005
                12 September 2005
                : 3
                : 46
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Biological and Physiological Sciences. Faculty of Sciences and Philosophy, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Av. Honorio Delgado 430. Urb. Ingenieria. Lima, Peru. PO Box 1843. Lima, Peru
                [2 ]Instituto de Investigaciones de la Altura. Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
                Article
                1477-7827-3-46
                10.1186/1477-7827-3-46
                1215518
                16156890
                Copyright © 2005 Gonzales and Salirrosas; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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                Human biology

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