Doppler ultrasound measurements of pulmonary blood flow in 20 babies with severe respiratory distress syndrome treated in a randomised controlled trial of surfactant replacement showed that the immediate improvement of oxygenation was not associated with a significant increase in pulmonary blood flow. Reduction in ventilator settings and increases in the extent of chest wall movements measured by a cardiorespiratory monitor suggested that the improvement after surfactant had been given was a result of alveolar stabilisation and increased pulmonary compliance. Further simultaneous studies of pulmonary blood flow and pulmonary compliance are needed to confirm these findings.
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