Clinical trial testing automatic oxygen control device for premature infants

The innovative device, designed by a researcher at the MU College of Engineering, will be tested at MU Health Care's Women’s and Children’s Hospital and a children’s hospital in Pensacola, Florida.

Oct. 1, 2021


Brian Consiglio: Some premature babies need the help of life-saving machines in a neonatal intensive care unit. Specifically, many babies need just the right amount of oxygen as they struggle to take their first breaths. The consequences are dire — too much oxygen can cause blindness, and too little oxygen can cause brain damage and other negative health effects.

Now, a clinical trial is testing a new device, developed by Roger Fales, an associate professor in the MU College of Engineering, that could help automatically control the level of oxygen a premature baby is receiving. Fales says the device works similar to the way cruise control works in a car.

Fales: “In the automobile, cruise control automates the process of keeping the speed constant in your vehicle. In the case that we have here, we’re automating the amount of oxygen that the baby receives, to keep their blood oxygen saturation constant.”

Consiglio: The goal of the device is to improve health outcomes for premature babies by stabilizing their blood oxygen levels. John Pardalos, an associate professor in the Department of Child Health in the MU School of Medicine, is helping oversee the clinical aspects of the trial.

Pardalos: “We have very tight parameters that the nurses and the respiratory therapists try to keep the baby's oxygen levels in. The thing that we'll look at is what kept the oxygen level in the prescribed range the most, the nurses or the computer.”

Consiglio: For more on this research, visit

I’m Brian Consiglio, with a Spotlight on Mizzou.

Learn more about the research here

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