A SIMPLE method of treatment of one type of persistent atelectasis of the new-born infant will be presented. It is based on a familiar but frequently unrecognized cause of atelectasis in the premature infant. The treatment is patterned after that found effective for a somewhat similar physiological disturbance observed in the adult with "steering wheel" fractures of the sternum.
The necessity of improved therapy in atelectasis of the newborn infant has been emphasized recently in a review of neonatal mortality by Bundesen1 and co-workers. They found that "abnormal pulmonary ventilation is the leading cause of death in the newborn, accounting for 47% of all deaths."
The etiological concept upon which our treatment is based was presented by Wilson and Farber,2 who noted that often in the newborn infant, and more frequently in the premature, a retraction of the chest wall occurred with each diaphragmatic contraction. They felt that