It is difficult to estimate daily energy expenditure unless continuous O2 consumption (VO2) and CO2 production (VCO2) can be measured. This study describes a simple method for calculating daily and interim changes in O2 consumption and CO2 production for neonates, especially for premature infants. Oxygen consumption and CO2 production are measured using a flow-through technique in which the total VO2 and VCO2 over a given period of time are determined through a computerized system. This system can automatically calculate VO2 and VCO2 not only minute to minute but also over a period of time, e.g., 24 h. As a result, it provides a better indirect reflection of the accurate energy expenditure in an infant's daily life and can be used at the bedside of infants during their ongoing nursery care.
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