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May 1955

Electrophrenic Artificial Respiration in the Newborn

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1955;89(5):553-563. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1955.02050110667005

The production of artificial respiration by means of electrical stimuli to the phrenic nerve has been known for more than 150 years. Its use in the treatment of newborn infants had its beginnings in modern times with Israel.1 He gives a complete summary of the literature, beginning with Hufeland, in 1783. In his own series he treated six asphyxiated newborn infants who survived. His means of electrophrenic respiration was an induction coil. It is not possible to estimate the strength of the current that he applied, as he states only the distances between the primary and secondary coils.

Cross and Roberts2 reported a series of 29 asphyxiated newborn infants, of whom 25 survived. They made measurements of the currents required and correlated these observations with the severity of asphyxia. They found that the severer the asphyxia the greater the current that was required. It has been noted uniformly