The nature of the defect in the regulation of body temperature by premature infants is not precisely defined. The facility with which subnormal body temperatures develop in these subjects implies the existence of a tendency for the loss of heat to exceed the production. Whether this imbalance is ascribable to an abnormally low production, an excessive loss or a combination of the two has not heretofore been systematically studied.
The purpose of our investigation was to collect data which might clarify the nature of the underlying defect. This paper is concerned with the heat production of premature infants. It reports sixty-four observations, in two groups, of the basal metabolism of twenty-two infants: in the first group, twenty-six observations on twelve infants under environmental conditions not rigidly controlled, and in the second group, thirty-eight observations on ten infants in an air-conditioned suite.
The literature contains three comprehensive studies of the basal
GORDON HH, LEVINE SZ. RESPIRATORY METABOLISM IN INFANCY AND IN CHILDHOOD: XVIII. THE RESPIRATORY EXCHANGE IN PREMATURE INFANTS—BASAL METABOLISM. Am J Dis Child. 1936;52(4):810–830. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1936.04140040040005
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