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March 1951

ADRENAL CORTEX EXTRACT IN PEDIATRICS: Possible Effect on the Respiratory System of the Newborn

Author Affiliations

From the Pediatric and Obstetrical Services, Cambridge City Hospital, Cambridge, Mass., and St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Brighton, Mass.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1951;81(3):323-328. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1951.02040030333002

THORN1 considers and classifies acute adrenal insufficiency into three types. A fourth type of acute adrenal insufficiency, with congenital hypoplasia of adrenocortical tissue, occurs in the newborn infant.2 The respiratory signs presented by a patient with this condition were definite. There was a disappearance of moist rales, cyanosis and dyspnea after replacement therapy. Because these manifestations recurred and increased in severity with the continued withdrawal of treatment with adrenal cortex extract, it appeared that adrenocortical hormone might exert a selective action on the cardiorespiratory system. This became more probable when a review of the records of several patients who suffered from a deficiency of this hormone revealed clinical and postmortem findings of pulmonary disease.3 In addition, evidence has been presented that fatal hyalin-like membranes in the newborn might be caused by some injury to the epithelium and walls of terminal air spaces in pulmonary fields.4 We

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