Eight percent to 10% of babies born in the United States are premature. For more than a decade, treating these babies with nitric oxide was believed to stave off serious health problems -- something a new study says doesn’t work.
A Picture of Health blog from the Baltimore Sun points to a Johns Hopkins Children's Center study that reviewed data on premature, or pre-term, babies. It says: "The practice is widespread, but the babies who got nitric oxide were no less likely to die, develop chronic lung disease, suffer cerebral palsy or have neurological or cognitive impairments, according to the review of 22 major studies." Here's an explanation of the study that will be published in Pediatrics in February. And this National Institutes of Health panel's report made similar findings in October.
All of this isn't to say that premature babies don't need special treatment and care, just that nitric oxide needn't be part of it.