One hundred and three consecutive infants less than or equal to 32 weeks' gestation with recurrent apnoea of immaturity were reviewed, and survival was assessed and related to timing of treatment. The sickest infants were treated after between one and three episodes of apnoea with bradycardia, and mortality was 70%. Of those in whom treatment was postponed because apnoea was considered mild, 34% subsequently required mechanical ventilation, and 23% died. Among a small group of 20 survivors seen at ages 9-24 months, 4 (20%) have major handicaps. The possible place for earlier treatment is discussed.
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