Life-threatening situations may arise at different periods in neonatal life. Soon after birth an emergency may occur due to failure of establishment or maintenance of respiration; in the first few days of neonatal life emergencies are commonly due to congenital defects incompatible with extrauterine existence or due to low birth weight; emergencies in late neonatal life are either of metabolic origin or secondary to birth trauma or due to infections. In the newborn, prompt treatment of any disease process is important because deterioration can be very rapid and therefore alertness in noting any deviation from normal is necessary. A close watch should be kept for the appearance of the danger signals mentioned in the previous chapter; when they appear and are being investigated or treated, any increase in the intensity or the appearance of additional symptoms should be noted.
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