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Rebreathing expired gases from bedding: a cause of cot death?
  1. D P Bolton,
  2. B J Taylor,
  3. A J Campbell,
  4. B C Galland,
  5. C Cresswell
  1. Department of Physiology, University of Otago Medical School, Dunedin, New Zealand.

    Abstract

    The reported association of cot death and sleeping prone could be due to rebreathing of expired gases. A mechanical model simulating the respiratory system of an infant, exhaling warm humidified air with an end tidal carbon dioxide of 5%, has been used to investigate this. Some commonly used bedding materials caused an accumulation of carbon dioxide of 7% to over 10% with the model lying face down. This phenomenon persisted even with the head inclined at 45 degrees, but only on very soft materials, and could be a cause of cot death in a baby unresponsive to asphyxial blood gas changes. A coir fibre mattress allowed complete dispersal of exhalate as did a rubber sheet between any mattress and the covering sheet.

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