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April 1955

Oxygen Administration and Retrolental Fibroplasia

Author Affiliations

New York
From the Departments of Pediatrics and Ophthalmology, The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1955;89(4):399-413. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1955.02050110489001

The high incidence of retrolental fibroplasia (RLF) in premature infants of low birth weight has led to an intensive search for factors contributing to its pathogenesis. Although it probably is not a new disease,1 it has been recognized with increasing frequency since 1942, when Terry2 first described the condition, until now it has become one of the two leading causes in the United States of blindness in children.* The currently high occurrence rate cannot be explained either by the higher survival rate in the low-birth-weight group3 or by the more concerted search for the condition. It undoubtedly indicates a true rise in incidence of the disease.

The development of efficient incubators in the last 15 years has led to the liberal use of oxygen in the care of premature infants. In many nurseries all small premature infants, regardless of respiratory pattern, are routinely placed in incubators supplied