IN RECENT YEARS, etiological considerations have assumed increasing importance in the management of respiratory distress in newborn infants.1 Each of the multiple causes of respiratory distress carries its own therapeutic and prognostic implications. An infrequent and rarely considered cause is transient incoordination of the swallowing mechanism.
Over a period of one year we have seen three newborn infants who exhibited respiratory distress secondary to a functional abnormality in swallowing. Each of these infants developed aspiration pneumonitis which responded to therapy, and each developed the ability to swallow normally by 2 weeks of age.
Report of Cases
Case 1.—This was the fifth child born to a diabetic Negro woman. The last trimester of her pregnancy was complicated by excessive weight gain and edema. The infant was born one month prior to the expected date of confinement and weighed 3.8 kg (8 lb 6 oz). He breathed and cried immediately but