As part of a study of the role of environmental oxygen on retrolental fibroplasia in premature infants of low birth weight,1 observations were made on the tolerance of these infants to early removal from oxygen. Because of the common occurrence of respiratory irregularities associated with immaturity of the respiratory tree, the respiratory center, and the structures of the thoracic cage and the frequent superimposition of intracranial hemorrhage at birth,2 it has been customary to provide small premature infants with an oxygen-rich environment.3 When evidence began to accumulate of the possible harmful effect of oxygen therapy in the causation of retrolental fibroplasia,* it became important to reexamine the necessity for this form of therapy.
PLAN OF STUDY
The routine practice in the premature nursery of the New York Hospital was to place infants with a birth weight below 1650 gm. in an incubator supplied with oxygen, regardless of