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Babies who are born early often require extra oxygen as part of their treatment. It is important for health professionals looking after these babies to make sure they are getting the right amount of oxygen. Too little or too much oxygen can have an impact on babies’ survival chances and be damaging for their long term health.

The Study

973 babies from the UK and Ireland took part in research that looked at whether it was better for babies’ survival and long term health to have a lower level (85-89%) of oxygen in their blood or a higher level (91-95%). Four other similar studies also took place around the world. Babies were followed up two years from their due date.

The Findings

At the time the babies were discharged from hospital more babies who had a higher amount of oxygen survived. More of them had required treatment for severe ROP (retinopathy of prematurity) but severe NEC (necrotising enterocolitis) was less common in this group of babies. You can read the full research paper here.

When babies who took part in the study reached two years after their due date they were followed up. For this part of the study they looked at how the babies who took part in the UK and a similar Australian study where doing. They found that more babies who had the higher amount of oxygen in their blood survived without any disability compared to those who had the lower amounts. The research paper for this work can be found here.

What’s next?

All of the five studies that are part of this work will be analysed and findings will be published.
To find out more about the BOOST- II UK study please visit the NPEU website or email


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