March 1970

Starch in the Lungs of Newborns Following Positive Pressure Ventilation

Author Affiliations

Burlington, Vt
From the departments of pathology (Drs. Dain and Smith) and pediatrics (Dr. Randall), University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vt.

Am J Dis Child. 1970;119(3):218-220. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1970.02100050220006

Eight of 16 newborn infants dying after varying periods of artificial ventilation had starch granules in their lungs. In seven of the eight, a cellular reaction was present with starch granules within macrophages or giant cells in four of these cases. Duration on the respirator did not correlate with the presence of starch. The granules were probably introduced into the lungs from sterile powdered gloves during tracheal toilet. No fibrosis or granulomas were observed in this series, although they have been reported in other anatomic sites. Although the clinical significance of these findings is uncertain, surgical glove powder is a foreign substance, and care should be taken to exclude it from the lungs of newborn infants.