The Baylor Research Institute (BRI) in Dallas has received a grant from Nellcor in support of the development of an information system that tracks oxygen saturation levels of neonatal patients via pulse oximetry.

Baylor researchers hope that by creating this system, known as the Neonatal Oxygen Therapy Information System (NOTIS), it will help to prevent the occurrence of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a disorder affecting premature newborns that can cause severe visual impairments or blindness. While several factors may contribute to developing ROP, some clinicians feel closer examination of current oxygenation standards could improve ROP outcomes.

“As clinicians, we already know to avoid saturation levels over 95% in high risk babies,” said Cody Arnold, MD, head of the NOTIS research team at BRI, neonatologist on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and epidemiologist and health services researcher at the Baylor Institute for Healthcare Research “But by more closely evaluating those oxygenation levels with an information system like NOTIS, we have an opportunity to safely increase the amount of time patients spend in the desired saturation range and, hopefully, reduce incidence of ROP.”

When complete, NOTIS, in development at BRI, will be available at no cost to any researcher or newborn intensive care unit (NICU) interested in studying oxygenation levels of premature infants in an effort to advance patient care.

Nellcor presented Cody Arnold, MD, neonatologist on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and head of the NOTIS research team at the Baylor Research Institute, with a check to help fund research on the development of an oxygen monitoring system for premature infants in neonatal intensive care units. Arnold and his team hope that the system will ultimately help to prevent a common cause of blindness in premature infants.