The effect of postural drainage alone was compared to postural drainage with chest percussions on the arterial blood gases of 20 neonates with respiratory distress. There was no significant alteration in the arterial PO2 following postural drainage alone, with a significant increase (14.5 mm Hg) following postural drainage with chest percussions. The PO2 midway through postural drainage with percussions showed a small (5 mm Hg) but nonsignificant rise in the PO2, suggesting a gradual improvement throughout the use of this form of therapy. There was no significant change in the pH or PCO2 with either procedure. Appropriately performed chest percussions will result in an improvement in oxygenation in neonates with respiratory distress.

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