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June 10, 1983

Surfactant extract reduces infant respiratory distress

JAMA. 1983;249(22):3006. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330460010004

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A purified extract of surfactant obtained from human amniotic fluid has successfully reduced the problems of managing respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) in a group of nine premature infants.

A single endotracheal dose of 60 mg/kg of the surfactant resulted in a dramatic rise in oxygen tension as well as other favorable effects, permitting the investigators to cut in half the amount of oxygen the infants were given compared with 17 control patients who received conventional intermittent ventilation. Such measures can reduce the chances of oxygen toxicity.

The results, reported by T. Allen Merritt, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics of the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine at the meeting of the American Pediatric Society-Society for Pediatric Research in Washington, DC, were described as a major advance by Sumner Yaffe, MD, director of the Center for Research for Mothers and Children of the National Institute for Child Health and