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March 11, 1974

Sudden Infant Death

Author Affiliations

Flushing Hospital and Medical Center Flushing, NY

JAMA. 1974;227(10):1121. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230230013004

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To the Editor.—  Your MEDICAL NEWS item on the progress in the explanation of sudden death in infancy (226:1291, 1973) reveals that little has been added to the knowledge of this condition since the reports published by Dr. Werne and myself in 1947 and 1953.I doubt Dr. Bergman's conclusion that because children made no sound, a laryngeal constriction was present. Our 1953 article in the American Journal of Pathology was a review of 12 patients who had been observed dying, had no gross findings at autopsy, and in whom microscopic findings were identical to those found dead. In these cases, only one was reported to have screamed. The remaining infants were observed to be gasping or breathing heavily. The parents were very explicit as to the excursions of the chest that meant that air was being exhaled and inhaled with vigor. We always asked these questions because we wished