The report of Gregory et al.1 at the May 1970 meeting of the Society for Pediatric Research on six infants with severe hyaline membrane disease treated with continuous positive airway pressure now seems ancient history. Application of a constant distending pressure during both artificial and spontaneous respiration has rapidly become almost a routine in many centers in North America and elsewhere. Particularly benefited is that ± 50% of infants with severe disease (defined as an arterial Po2 < 50 mm Hg while breathing at least 80% oxygen) who do not require respirator therapy, by virtue of arterial Pco2 below 65 to 70 mm Hg and absence of severe apneic spells.

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