In newborn infants, acute perinatal hypoxic/ischaemic events and associated hyperoxia/reperfusion injury frequently lead to devastating neonatal brain damage. The present report concerns a 3-week-old boy from Pakistan with d-transposition of the great arteries (d-TGA), prolonged and severe hypoxaemia, and multiresistant bacterial sepsis. The term newborn infant underwent public airline transportation to Europe and presented on the airport’s runway with severe hypoxaemia (pulsoximetric oxygen saturations (SpO2) 17%) and systemic hypotension. The patient eventually underwent late balloon atrial septostomy, followed by a successful two-stage arterial switch operation. A clinical follow-up 3–5 years later revealed lack of cerebral dysfunction, adequate neurodevelopment, good biventricular function, regular coronary flow, as well as normal ECG, blood pressure and SpO2. The findings may indicate the neonatal brain adjusts better to chronic, slowly worsening hypoxia than to acute hypoxia (eg, “birth asphyxia”), and also suggests a greater tolerance for chronic hypoxia in neonates vs adults.
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Competing interests: None.
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