The presence of gas in the small bowel of infants, observed in routine roentgen examination for various conditions, has been noted for some time. Its cause and significance have not been understood. The solution of this problem was found by placing infants in the semi-inclined position.
In animals, in the all-four position, the entrance of the esophagus into the stomach is on a higher level than the exit through the pylorus. When they swallow gas with food it collects above the food and fluid secretions and can easily escape through the esophagus. Since infants lie on their backs for the most part, especially new-born infants in the hospital, the swallowed gas rises into the distal or pyloric end of the stomach, where it is trapped by fluids. It therefore cannot escape through the esophagus and must be forced through the pylorus into the small intestine.
Snow W, Cassasa CSB. POSTURAL TREATMENT OF TYMPANITES. JAMA. 1935;104(16):1403–1404. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.92760160001009
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