The concentration of ammonia nitrogen in venous blood was determined in 79 newborn infants. Simultaneous evaluation of the vital signs (color, pulse, respirations, reflex activity and muscle tone) was made. No correlation between concentration of ammonia in venous blood and state of consciousness as measured by evaluation of vital signs could be found. Concentrations of ammonia in the blood did not vary significantly with sex, birth weight or duration of labor.
The elevated concentrations of ammonia seen frequently in the first hours of life suggest that the source of ammonia in blood of normal infants is not due to the putrefactive activity of the gut since the intestinal tract is normally sterile at birth.
- Received March 7, 1957.
- Accepted July 10, 1957.
- Copyright © 1958 by the American Academy of Pediatrics