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Correlation of Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Oximetry and Corresponding Venous Oxygen Saturations in Children with Congenital Heart Disease


Invasive and non-invasive monitoring allow for early detection of hemodynamic compromise, facilitating timely intervention and avoidance of further decline. While venous oximetry is useful for assessing the adequacy of systemic oxygen delivery (DO2), it is most often intermittent, invasive, and costly. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) oximetry allows for the non-invasive estimation of the adequacy of DO2. We assessed the correlation between cerebral NIRS oximetry and superior vena cava (SVC) and jugular venous (JV) oxygen saturations and between renal NIRS oximetry and inferior vena cava (IVC) oxygen saturations. Systematic review of the literature was conducted to identify studies with data regarding near-infrared spectroscopy and venous saturation. The PubMed, EMBASE, Medline, and Cochrane databases were queried using the following terms in isolation and various combinations: “congenital heart disease,” “near infrared spectroscopy,” “venous saturation,” and “pediatric.” Pediatric studies in which simultaneous NIRS oximetry and corresponding venous oxygen saturations were simultaneously collected after cardiac surgery or catheterization were identified. Data were pooled from these studies to analyze the correlation between NIRS oximetry and the corresponding venous oxygen saturations. A total of 16 studies with 613 patients were included in the final analyses. Data were present to compare cerebral and renal NIRS oximetry with corresponding venous oxygen saturation. Cerebral NIRS and SVC and JV oxygen saturations and renal NIRS and IVC oxygen saturations demonstrated strong degrees of correlation (r-value 0.70 for each). However, cerebral NIRS and IVC oxygen saturation had a week degree of correlation (r-value of 0.38). Pooled analyses demonstrate that cerebral NIRS oximetry correlates strongly with SVC or JV oxygen saturation while renal NIRS oximetry correlates strongly with IVC oxygen saturations. A weak correlation was noted between cerebral NIRS oximetry and IVC oxygen saturations.

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This study did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Authors and Affiliations



RSL, SF, and JR contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection, and analysis were performed by JSF, EGV, DS, and AD. The first draft of the manuscript was written by RSL, JSF, SF, and JR commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. Reviewing and editing was done by RAB and EGV.

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Correspondence to Enrique G. Villarreal.

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Loomba, R.S., Rausa, J., Sheikholeslami, D. et al. Correlation of Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Oximetry and Corresponding Venous Oxygen Saturations in Children with Congenital Heart Disease. Pediatr Cardiol 43, 197–206 (2022).

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  • Near-infrared spectroscopy
  • Oximetry
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Critical care
  • Pediatrics