Low doses of inhaled nitric oxide can decrease the risk of chronic lung disease and death by nearly one-fourth in premature infants who have respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), report researchers from the University of Chicago in the Nov. 27, 2003, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Nitric oxide also can cut the risk of severe bleeding into the brain and loss of brain tissue – devastating complications of prematurity – by almost half.
The combination of prematurity and RDS may be lethal despite aggressive treatment, including mechanical ventilation. Approximately 60,000 children are born each year in the United States weighing less than 1,500 grams (about 3.3 pounds). Many of those who survive suffer permanent lung damage, which can slow growth, increase susceptibility to infection and is associated with abnormal brain development.
Karyn Odway | EurekAlert!
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