Management of a case of severe respiratory distress syndrome in a newborn boy consisted of endotracheal intubation and maintenance of respiration with a mechanical ventilator for four days. Roentgenograms gave evidence of progressive clearing of the lungs during this time. Physical exhaustion contributes significantly to respiratory failure in infants with this syndrome. Most infants weather the period of respiratory distress and recover without sequelae, but in those who die the clinical picture is one of progressive dyspnea, increased efforts to breathe, exhaustion, and death from anoxia. Prolonged application of artificial ventilation to infants with severe distress may prevent exhaustion.
Frank J. Colgan, Svend Eldrup-Jøgensen, Robert M. Lawrence. MAINTENANCE OF RESPIRATION IN THE NEONATAL RESPIRATORY DISTRESS SYNDROME. JAMA. 1960;173(14):1557–1559. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020320037010