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June 19, 1972

Medical News

JAMA. 1972;220(12):1547-1556. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200120003002

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Some eye drops can imperil low birth weight infants  An agent widely used in newborn nurseries to prepare infants for routine funduscopic examination has been found to cause "a significant and consistent rise" in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures.When just one drop of 10% phenylephrine was instilled into the eyes of a series of low birth weight infants, investigators at St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center, New York, recorded 20% to 40% increases in systolic and diastolic pressures. It was not unusual to see systolic blood pressures jump from 60 mm Hg to 75 mm Hg and diastolic, from 45 mm Hg to 58 mm Hg. The effects lasted 70 minutes or more.This is long enough to pose a hazard to the low birth weight infant with a left to right shunt, as in patent ductus arteriosus, the New York workers commented in a paper presented