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March 15, 1952


JAMA. 1952;148(11):941. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.02930110063016

It has been estimated that the total infant mortality in the United States in the first few days of life exceeds 120,000 per year and that about one-fifth of the deaths during the first two days of life are produced by asphyxia and related conditions.1 Immaturity contributes to the largest number of neonatal deaths, followed by birth injury, congenital malformations, postnatal asphyxia and atelectasis. Moreover, asphyxia, even though it does not necessarily prove fatal, can produce alterations in cerebral tissue that will not be immediately evident but that will become apparent in later life. The various pathological entities responsible for alterations in respiration in most instances are probably irreversible, yet there are contingencies in which accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment save life.

Among the devices that have been proposed to resuscitate the newborn infant are the administration of oxygen mixed with small amounts of carbon dioxide, cleansing of the

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