The Risk of Neonatal Morbidity in Umbilical Artery Hypercarbia and Respiratory Acidosis

Drew Hensel, Leilah Zahedi-Spung, Ebony Carter, Alison Cahill, Nandini Raghuraman, Joshua I. Rosenbloom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective  To test the hypothesis that elevated umbilical artery (UA) partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO 2) is associated with neonatal morbidity and to compare the risk of neonatal morbidity with different patterns of UA acidosis. Study Design  This was a secondary analysis of a prospective cohort of term, singleton, nonanomalous deliveries with universal cord gas collection. The primary outcome was composite neonatal morbidity. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the relative risk (RR) for neonatal morbidity in patients with and without UA hypercarbia. A receiver operating characteristic curve determined the predictive value of pCO 2for neonatal morbidity. An additional multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate the risk of neonatal morbidity in different patterns of UA acidosis. Results  UA hypercarbia was associated with an increased risk of neonatal morbidity (RR: 2.56, 95% confidence interval [CI]: [2.07, 3.17]). After adjusting for UA acidemia, this association remained significant (adjusted RR: 1.39, 95% CI: [1.05, 1.83]). UA pCO 2was less predictive of neonatal morbidity than UA pH (area under the curve [AUC]: 0.65, 95% CI: [0.62, 0.68] vs. AUC: 0.72, 95% CI: [0.69, 0.75], p < 0.01). The odds ratios for neonatal morbidity for respiratory, mixed, and metabolic acidosis compared with normal cord gases were 1.48 (95% CI: [0.88, 2.49]), 6.41 (95% CI: [3.68, 11.17]), and 7.49 (95% CI: [5.76, 9.72]), respectively, p -trend < 0.01. Conclusion  UA hypercarbia is an independent predictor of neonatal morbidity, even in the setting of concomitant UA acidemia. UA mixed and metabolic acidosis carry significantly greater risk of neonatal morbidity compared with respiratory acidosis. Key Points UA pCO 2is associated with neonatal morbidity. UA respiratory acidosis is the UA cord gas pattern least associated with neonatal morbidity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican journal of perinatology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • neonatal morbidity
  • umbilical artery hypercarbia
  • umbilical artery respiratory acidosis


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