In a newborn premature baby oxygen is a dangerous but life-saving drug. It is easy to give too much or too little, in either case with disastrous consequences. Oxygen excess is clinically undetectable while cyanosis is an unreliable and late sign of hypoxia. It is essential to monitor the concentration of oxygen breathed and its tension in the blood, but even these measurements are not free from technical inaccuracies. The correct use of oxygen demands experience and a knowledge of basic principles.
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