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    If an infant born with RDS is not promptly treated, lack of an adequate oxygen supply will damage the body's organs and eventually cause them to stop functioning altogether. Death is the result. The central nervous system in particular--made up of the brain and spinal cord--is very dependent on a steady oxygen supply and is one of the first organ systems to feel the effects of RDS. On the other hand, if the infant's breathing is supported until the lungs mature and make their own surfactant, complete recovery within three to five days is the rule.

    If an air leak causes pneumothorax, immediate removal of air from the chest will allow the lungs to re-expand. Bleeding into the brain is a very serious condition that worsens the outlook for an infant with RDS.

    Source: The Gale Group. Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.";

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