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Can Med Assoc J. 1980 Feb 9;122(3):307-9.

Elective delivery and the neonatal respiratory distress syndrome.


A prospective study was carried out to determine how often moderate or severe respiratory distress syndrome in infants delivered electively after 32 weeks' gestation or more is avoidable. During a 9-month period 64 such newborns were evaluated. The disease was considered avoidable in 14 (22%) since the indication for elective delivery was questionable. The mean birth weight and gestational age of these 14 infants were 2550 +/- 430 g and 36.3 +/- 1.7 weeks, and the mortality was 14%. This study demonstrated that elective delivery can produce severe neonatal complications, that despite their availability diagnostic tests of fetal age and maturity of the fetal lungs are not being used universally, and that the indications for elective delivery in cases of premature rupture of the membranes must be re-evaluated.

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