Plasma concentrations of immunoreactive human atrial natriuretic peptide (human ANP) were sequentially determined in 12 infants with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) or meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) during various phases of diuresis to elucidate the role of human ANP in the occurrence of spontaneous diuresis in the newborn. Plasma immunoreactive ANP concentrations during the diuretic as well as the maximum diuretic phase were significantly (p less than 0.001) higher than during the prediuretic phase. A gradual decrease occurred during the post diuretic phase, returning to prediuretic values after one week of life. Significant natriuresis, increased glomerular filtration rate, mild hyponatremia, and decreased blood pressure were observed in the diuretic phase in all the cases studied. These results suggest that hypersecretion of human ANP may play an important part in initiating spontaneous diuresis in sick neonates.
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