In 1913 Kehrer1 described a group of new-born infants with convulsions, flexor contractions of the extremities, carpal spasms and positive facial and Trousseau signs. Rapid improvement followed the administration of calcium salts. He believed the condition to be tetany of the new-born. Somewhat earlier Bliss2 had described an infant of 6 days with electrical reactions pathognomonic of tetany and Yanase3 had observed two infants, aged 12 and 15 days, respectively, with anodal hyperexcitability, one of whom showed a cathodal opening contraction with less than 5 milliamperes at the age of 29 days. Despite these observations it was generally believed that tetany does not occur in the new-born.
Interest in this subject was revived by the reports of Shannon4 and Bass and Karelitz.5 In 1931 the latter described three new-born infants with convulsions, general hyperirritability and exaggerated facial and Trousseau signs who showed dramatic improvement after