A controlled study of mechanical ventilation has been performed in infants with respiratory distress syndrome. 168 infants in respiratory failure were ventilated and 53 similar infants were not.
Artificial mechanical ventilation improved survival in infants weighing more than 2000 g. from 15% to 43% (4/27 vs. 29/67, p < 0·025).
Infants who weighed more than 1500 g. and developed respiratory failure at less than 38 hours of age had an improved survival (16/31) on ventilatory treatment, as compared with infants more than 1500 g. ventilated at more than 38 hours of age (24/78) (p < 0·05).
Artificial ventilation improved Pao2, Paco2, and [H+]a within one hour, but it was only the change in [H+]a in infants more than 2000 g. which was of prognostic significance.
Survival rates were similar for each of the three types of respirator used.
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