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Max K. Mendenhall; John A. Jenicek, MC; John M. Bryant, M.S.
JAMA. 1960;173(6):651-653. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020240039007.
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The observation that infants placed in an incubator after surgery sneezed and coughed, and that a pungent odor was generated within the incubator, led to a search for possible irritants. It was found that diethyl ether, exhaled by the infant during recovery from anesthesia, could be decomposed by contact with the electrical heating element in the incubator. In experiments with rabbits recovering from ether anesthesia and placed in the incubator, formaldehyde was found to be produced in concentrations as high as 370 ppm, far exceeding the threshold limits set for industrial atmospheres. The production of such irritants can be avoided with use of a heater so designed that the gases in the incubator do not come into contact with heating elements at high temperatures.


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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