A controlled trial of elective intervention with continuous inflating pressure (CIP) was performed in infants with severe hyaline membrane disease who weighed more than 1000 g at birth. Infants entered the trial if their arterial oxygen tension (PaO2) fell below 60 mmHg while breathing a fractional inspired oxygen concentration (F1O2) greater than 0-95. 11 out of 12 infants in the CIP-treated group and 10 out of 12 in the control group survived. 7 treated and 6 control infants required mechanical ventilation. When CIP was started the Pao2 of the treated infants increased, and they breathed high concentrations of oxygen for a significantly shorter period than the control infants. During the 31-month duration of the trial 107 other infants with severe hyaline membrane disease were admitted who did not meet the criteria for entry to the trial. 37 survived after breathing high concentrations of oxygen (F1O2 greater than 0-60) spontaneously without any ventilatory assistance, and the remaining 70 infants were already being ventilated on their arrival in the unit, usually because they had required mechanical ventilation during transfer from other hospitals. The neonatal survival rate for those infants born in this hospital during the study period was 88% (50 out of 57 infants) and for those referred from other hospitals it was 69% (51 out of 74 infants). The maximum further increase in overall survival rate that might have been achieved in our population of infants if CIP had been initiated very early in the course of the illness was 5%--i.e. from 77% (101/131) to 82% (107/131).
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