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Nitric Oxide Could Benefit Premature Babies

percent of the nitric oxide recipients were free of bronchopulmonary dysplasia versus 37 percent who got a placebo gas.

The Ballard team said, “As compared with infants who received placebo gas, infants who were treated with inhaled nitric oxide were hospitalized for fewer days, needed supplemental oxygen for a shorter period, and had less severe disease.”

According to Ballard the Kinsella team might not have seen significant improvement in some babies probably because they might have halted the treatment too soon. However as Ann Stark of Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, said, ‘At a cost of about $3,000 per day, or as much as $12,000 for a month of therapy, nitric oxide for premature newborns is difficult to justify until benefit is proven.’ She recommended that the use of inhaled nitric oxide in this setting should be limited to clinical trials. Presently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the gas for full-term babies with breathing problems.

Its use in prematue infants is regarded with great interest for doctors because about one in three babies with weight less than 2.75 pounds at birth have the disease and need supplemental oxygen. Of those, about 10 percent have evidence of brain injury.
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