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Timeline of Neonatology

Information for
Parents, Residents,
Students and Teachers

This timeline lists prominent names, accomplishments, and events in the history of newborn medicine. There is no central organizing principle except for some relationship to the care of fetuses and neonates. Occasionally, events are included from mainstream medicine or science if they have a significant impact on the work of caregivers for infants.

Note: The dates on the timeline have been gleaned from a variety of sources and are correct to the best of our knowledge, but you should always refer to primary sources for academic purposes. Corrections and suggestions for additions for this timeline are welcome. Please send email about this timeline to webmaster@neonatology.org.

Year

Person

Event

715-673 BC

Oldest reference to Caesarean section (Roman Law of Numa Pompilius)

98-138 AD

Soranus of Ephesus

Greek physician, practiced in Rome, wrote on midwifery and newborn care, influential into the 15th century

500's

Marble cradle for foundlings at Trèves

1200's

Hospital for foundlings, Pope Innocent III

1400's

Newborns have a soul

1500's

Handbooks for midwives, based on translations of Soranus

1538

Henry VIII

Establishment of Bills of Mortality

1650

Chamberlen

Invention of obstetric forceps

1662

John Graunt

Analysis and publication of Bills of Mortality

1670

Louis XIII

Royal edict creates l'Hôpital des Enfants-Trouvés

1691

Ruysch

First report of clinical entity now known as Hirschsprung's Disease

1733

Calder

First case report of duodenal atresia

1741

Coram

Opening of the Foundling Hospital, London

1753

Roederer

First publication of correct average birthweight and length

1769

Opening of the Dispensary for the Infant Poor, London

1780

Chaussier

First use of oxygen (O2) in newborns

1788

Hezekiah Beardsley

First description of hypertrophic pyloric stenosis of infancy

1795

Opening of the l'Hospice des Enfants-Trouvés at the Maternité, Paris (later known as l'Hospice des Enfants-Assistés)

1797

First description of Transposition of the Great Vessels

1802

Opening of the Hôpital des Enfants-Malades in Paris, first children's hospital

1802

Heberden

Published description of hydrocephalus in infants

1803

Hey

First successful surgical closure of omphalocele

1810

Use of le Tour d'abandon (tower of desertion) in France.

1814

Founding of Paris Maternité

1821

La Jumeau

First public demonstration of fetal heart rate auscultation

1834

Blundell

First description of endotracheal intubation for newborn resuscitation

1835

von Rühl

First known use of "warming tub" (Wärmewanne) St Petersburg

1836

Birth registration mandatory in England

1839

Frolich

First description of prune-belly syndrome

1847

First use of ether anesthesia in obstetrics

1851

Marchant

First report of gavage feedings for infants

1852

West

Founding of Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, the first children's hospital in English-speaking countries

1854

Founding of first American children's hospitals: New York Nursing and Child Hospital, and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

1857

Denucé

First published description of incubator in western literature

1861

Little

Cerebral palsy (CP) described and linked to birth trauma and asphyxia

1870

Beginning of the Infant Welfare Movement

1879

Credé

AgNO3 for ophthalmia neonatorum

1880

Tarnier

Introduction of "couveuse" (Tarnier-Martin closed incubator, thermisphon) at Paris Maternité

1880

Winckel

Trials of the "permanent water bath" for prematures, Dresden

1882

Biedert

Heat treatment of milk for 2 hrs at 100 degrees C. for artificial feeding

1883

Auvard

Introduction of Tarnier-Auvard single-infant incubator (warm water in stoneware containers), Paris Maternité

1884

Tarnier

Gavage feedings

1888

Hirschsprung

First description of pyloric stenosis

1888

Fallot

First description of association of ventribular septal defect, right ventricular infundibular stenosis, aortic valve overriding the right ventricle, and right ventricular hypertrophy (now known as Tetralogy of Fallot, or TOF)

1889

Tarnier

First use of oxygen (O2) for prematures

1891

Bonnaire

First description in literature of oxygen (O2) for premature infants (used by Tarnier in 1889)

1891

Lion

Establishment of the "Baby Infant Charity" in Nice (later in Marseilles, Bordeaux, Lyons, and then Paris)

1891

Lion

Thermoregulated incubator, later manufactured by Paul Altmann in Berlin

1891

Rotch

Rotch portable incubator, Boston

1892

Budin

Establishment of the "Consultations de Nourrissons"

1893

Henry

Pavilion of Weaklings at the Paris Maternité

1894

C. W. Townsend

Description of "hemorrhagic disease of the newborn"

1894

First "milk depots"

1896

Lion

Opening of the Oeuvre Maternelle de Couveuses d'Enfants, Paris

1896

Couney (?)

Incubator baby exhibit at the Berliner Gewerbe-Ausstellung

1897

Couney

Incubator baby sideshow at Victorian Era Exhibition at Earl's Court, London

1897

Eisenmenger

Described congenital heart disease association of ventricular septal defect (VSD), pulmonary hypertension, left to right shunt, and overriding aortic valve, this became known as Eisenmenger's Complex

1898

Couney

Incubator baby sideshow at Trans-Mississippi Exposition, Omaha, Nebraska

1899

Joseph B. DeLee

First incubator station in the United States at Chicago Lying-In Hospital

1899

Ahlfeld

First successful treatment of omphalocele by painting sac with alcohol

1900

Budin

Publication of "Le Nourrisson" [The Nursling] in France

1900

Couney

Incubator baby sideshow at the World Exhibition, Paris

1901

Couney

Incubator baby sideshow at Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, New York

1902

Heidenhain or Aue

First successful repair of congenital diaphragmatic hernia

1903-1933(?)

Couney

Incubator baby sideshow at Coney Island

1904

Zahorsky

Incubator baby sideshow at Louisiana Purchase Exposition and World's Fair, St. Louis

1905

Couney

Incubator baby sideshow at Lewis and Clark Exhibition, Portland, Oregon

1907

Budin

Publication of "The Nursling" [Le Nourrisson] in England, translation by Maloney

1908

Carrel

First transfusion for hemorrhagic disease of the newborn

1908

Chicago mandates pasteurization of milk

1908

Garrod

Description of "inborn errors of metabolism" and their inheritance according to Mendel's Laws

1909

Founding of the Kaiserin Auguste Victoria Haus, Berlin, center for teaching and research in the prevention of newborn mortality

1911

Hess

Electrically heated, water-jacketed open infant bed

1911

"Baby Tents of Chicago"

1912

Blackfan

Device for collection of blood in newborns

1912

Ramstedt

First successful treatment of pyloric stenosis with pyloromyotomy

1913

Richter

Transthoracic ligation of tracheoesophageal fistula

1914

Hess

Incubator unit at Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago

1915

Incubator baby sideshow at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco

1915

Helmholtz

Intravenous infusions and blood collection from the longitudinal sinus

1916

Ernst

First successful surgical repair of congenital duodenal atresia

1919

Sidbury

Transfusion through the umbilical vein for hemorrhagic disease of the newborn

1920's

Births in hospitals increase from 5% to 60% in large US cities

1922

Hess

Premature station at Sarah Morris Hospital

1922

Hess

Publication of "Premature and Congenitally Diseased Infants," first American textbook on prematurity

1922

Hess

First transport incubator for newborns

1925

Hart

First exchange transfusion for erythroblastosis fetalis

1928

Fleming

Discovery of Penicillin

1930

Founding of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

1932

Diamond, Blackfan, Batty

Hydrops fetalis, icterus gravis, and anemia of the newborn unified as "erythroblastosis fetalis"

1933

Founding of the American Board of Pediatrics for specialty certification

1933

Louis W. Sauer

First use of pertussis vaccine in the United States

1933-1934

Incubator baby sideshow at Century of Progress International Exhibition, Chicago

1934

Hess

Modified electrically heated incubator for O2 administration

1934

Dionne Quintuplets

1934

Følling

Discovery of phenylketonuria (PKU)

1934

First dedicated transport vehicle for newborns, Chicago

1935

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) defines prematurity as BW < 2500 gm

1935

Clinical use of sulfa drugs

1936

Abbott

Publication of "Atlas of Congenital Heart Disease"

1936

H. Dam

Discovery of "Koagulations Vitamin" (Vitamin K)

1937

W. W. Waddell

Vitamin K treatment of coagulation abnormalities of the newborn

1938

Charles Chapple

Design of modern infant incubator (prototype of Isolette) in Philadelphia

1938

Andersen

Meconium ileus linked to cystic fibrosis

1938

Gross and Hubbard

Successful ligation of patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), Boston

1939

Runge

Clinical description of "dysmaturity" related to placental dysfunction

1939-1940

Couney

Incubator baby sideshow at New York World's Fair

1940

A. Cournand and D. Richard

Cardiac catheterization for diagnosis of congenital heart disease

1941

Karl Landsteiner and Philip Levine

Discovery of the Rh factor

1941

Gregg

Congenital cataracts related to Rubella epidemic

1941

Clifford

First clinical recognition of retrolental fibroplasia (RLF)

1941

Haight

First successful primary anastomosis of tracheoesophageal fistula

1942

Florey and Chain

First clinical use of Penicillin

1942

Terry

First published description of RLF

1942

Louis K. Diamond

Link established between Rh isoimmunization and erythroblastosis fetalis

1943

Alfred Blalock & Helen Taussig

First "blue baby" operation for Tetralogy of Fallot (Blalock-Taussig or BT shunt)

1944

Miller and Olney

Angiocardiography for infants with congenital heart disease

1944

Haight & Towsley

Successful repair of esophageal atresia

1944

Willi

Description of "malignant enteritis of the first three months of life"

1945

Craaford and Nylin

Successful surgical repair of Coarctation of the Aorta described

1946

Louis K. Diamond

Exchange transfusion via umbilical vein as treatment for erythroblastosis fetalis

1946

Clement A. Smith

Publication of "The Physiology of the Newborn Infant," first American textbook of neonatology

1946

Ehrenpreis

First diagnosis of Hirschsprung's Disease in neonates

1946

Hill-Burton Act, federal aid for construction of hospital facilities

1946

First randomized controlled trial in humans (efficacy of streptomycin for tuberculosis, England).

1947

Taussig

Publication of "Congenital Malformations of the Heart"

1947

First report of polyethylene catheters used for exchange transfusion through the umbilical vein

1947

Modern Isolette (based on Chapple Incubator) first shown publicly

1948

WHO defines prematurity as BW < 2500 gm

1948

First edition of "Standards and Recommendations for Hospital Care of Newborns" published by the Committee on Fetus and Newborn of the American Academy of Pediatrics

1948

Peller

First use of the term "perinatal"

1949

Use of DES to prevent miscarriage

1949

W. L. Bradford, Elizabeth Day, F. C. Morton

Triple vaccine for Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DPT vaccine)

1949

Birthweight and GA added to Standard Certificate of Live Birth in USA

1949

Cornell offers Institutes on Premature Infant Care for physicians and nurses

1949

Smith

Thirsting and starving of premature infants

1950

Bloxsom

Bloxsom Air Lock introduced

1951

Cambell

ROP first linked to O2 use

1952

Virginia Apgar

Apgar score for assessment of newborns

1952

Schmid & Quaiser

First clear description in the English literature of necrotizing entercolitis (NEC) as distinct clinical entity

1952

Patz

Initial trial, with some procedural defects, that linked excessive O2 to retinopathy of prematurity (ROP).

1953

Watson & Crick

Correct structure of DNA described in Nature

1953

Donald

Description of natural history of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) and correlation with X-rays

1953

Detergent mist (Alevaire) for respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)

1953

Love & Tillery

Sternal traction for respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)

1953

Rickham

First neonatal surgical unit, Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool

1953

Emerson

Invention of high-frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV)

1953-1954

Controlled trial: excessive O2 leads to retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Cooperative trial published by Kinsey in 1955. First randomized controlled trial in newborns.

1954

Pick

Clinical linkage between small term infant and placental insufficiency

1954

Clifford

Clinical description of "postmature" infant

1954

Jonas Salk

National randomized trial of inactivated polio vaccine

1954-1956

Increase in kernicterus due to use of prophylactic sulfa drugs

1955

Gleiss

Controlled trial: withholding fluid in immediate postnatal period not beneficial

1955

Controlled trial: detergent mist not beneficial

1956

Silverman

Controlled trial: sulfa drugs increase risk of kernicterus

1956

Dobbs, Cremer, Ward

Serendipitous observation of effect of sunlight on indirect bilirubin level

1956

Controlled trial: Bloxsom air lock is ineffective

1956

Tjio and Albert Levan

First publication of correct number of human chromosomes (46)

1957-1959

Hodgman

Gray-Baby Syndrome due to use of prophylactic chloramphenicol

1957

Albert Sabin

Development of attenuated virus polio vaccine (approved for general use in 1963)

1957

Commercial production of winged "scalp vein" needles for neonates

1957

Introduction of Thalidomide in Europe

1958

Silverman

Controlled trial: hypothermia leads to decreased survival

1958

Availability of modern intracatheter in several sizes

1958

First air transport of newborn, Denver, Colorado (DC-3)

1958

Cremer

First description of light effect on bilirubin levels, Lancet

1959

Mary Ellen Avery and Jere Mead

Surfactant deficiency is the cause of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)

1959

Jerome Lejeune

Trisomy 21 identified in Down's Syndrome

1959

Intravenous (IV) fluids for infants with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)

1959

First report of umbilical artery catheterization for blood gas sampling

1959

Usher

Glucose and bicarbonate drip for infants with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), later known as the Usher Regimen

1960

Rubeola vaccine

1960

Alexander Shaeffer

First use of terms "neonatologist" and "neonatology" in textbook (Diseases of the Newborn, Saunders, 1960)

1960-1961

Birth defects linked to Thalidomide

1961

WHO distinguishes low-birth-weight from prematurity

1962

Koop

First neonatal surgical intensive care unit in the USA at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia

1962

Saling

Fetal scalp blood sampling for pH

1962

Weller and Neva; Parkman, Buescher, and Artenstein

Isolation of the Rubella virus

1963

Liley

First report of intrauterine fetal transfusion

1963

Robert Guthrie

Newborn screening test for phenylketonuria (PKU)

1963

Patrick Bouvier Kennedy dies of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), 34 weeks gestation, birthweight 2100 gms.

1963

Lubchenco

Standard tables of weights, lengths, and head circumferences by gestational age based on Denver data. Introduction of concepts of AGA, LGA and SGA

1963

Mustard

Physiologic baffle repair for Transposition of the Great Vessels (Mustard Procedure)

1963

Liley

First published description of intrauterine transfusion of the fetus for hemolytic disease

1963-1964

Rubella epidemic in USA

1963

Maria Delivoria-Papadopoulos

First successful ventilation of a preterm infant with hyaline membrane disease (Assisted ventilation in terminal hyaline membrane disease. Arch. Dis. Child., 39:481-484, 1964)

1964

Stowe

Epsom salt enemas used as therapy for respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)

1964

Eickhoff

First report of Group B streptococcus in neonatal sepsis

1965

First pediatric nurse practioner (PNP) training program at Univ. of Colorado

1965

Louis Gluck

First newborn intensive care unit (NICU) at Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut

1966

Usher et al

Physical characteristics for assessment of gestational age

1966

Rashkind and Miller

Technique of atrial septostomy developed (became rescue therapy for newborns with Transposition of the Great Vessels)

1966

Harry M. Meyer, Paul D. Parkman, Theodore C. Panos

Live attenuated rubella vaccine

1966

Victor Freda

Prevention of maternal Rh sensitization (and erythroblastosis fetalis) by anti-Rh antibody (RhoGam)

1967

Northway, Rosan & Porter

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BDP) described

1967

First helicopter transport of newborn, Peoria, Illinois

1967

Guthkelch

Treatment of hydrocephalus with Holter Valve

1967

Hon and Quilligan

Description of three types of fetal heart rate decelerations

1967

Kantrowitz

First heart transplant in newborn, Brooklyn, New York

1968

Fontan

Fontan procedure for surgical palliation of functional single ventricle

1968

Commercial availability of fetal heart rate monitors (Corometrics)

1968

Amiel-Tison

Neurological assessment of gestational age

1968

Wilmore & Dudtrick

First published report of total intravenous nutrition of newborn

1969

Du and Oliver

First description of use of an open radiant warmer for newborns.

1969

Rubella vaccine released (live attenuated virus )

1969

Lucey

Controlled trial: phototherapy treatment of hyperbilirubinemia

1970

Publication of standardized techniques for umbilical artery catheterization

1970

Dubowitz

Gestational age scoring method based on combined physical and neurological characteristics

1970

First report of xenon arc photocoagulation for ROP

1971

Gregory

Use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)

1971

Gluck et al

Assessment of "pulmonary maturity" by amniocentesis (L/S ratio)

1971

AMA policy statement on regionalization of perinatal care

1972

Shannon et al

Description of hyperoxia test for cyanotic congenital heart disease

1972

Kirby

Intermittent mandatory ventilation (IMV) for respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) - BabyBird ventilator

1972

Controlled trial: antenatal glucocorticoids for prevention of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)

1972

Umbilical arterial lines enter routine use

1973

Jones, Smith, & Ulleland

Clinical description of the fetal alcohol syndrome

1973

Transcutaneous PO2 monitoring in newborns

1973

Klauss & Fanaroff

Publication of "Care of the High-Risk Neonate," 1st Edition

1974

Sharpe

Published observation that Indomethacin produces intense and persistent contraction of ductus arteriosus in vivo.

1974

Perinatology subspecialty certification begins (obstetrics)

1975

Total parenteral nutrition (TPN) for infants becomes routine

1975

Neonatology subspecialty certification begins (pediatrics)

1975

Olley and Coceani

Prostaglandin E can maintain patency of ductus arteriosus

1975

First use of extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in infants

1976

Anderson, Nicholson, & Heird

Controlled trial: total parenteral nutrition in prematures

1976

Jatene

First successful arterial switch operation for Transposition of the Great Vessels

1979

Transcutaneous PCO2 monitoring in newborns

1979

Controlled trial: indomethacin treatment of patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in prematures

1979

Ballard

Simplified gestational age scoring system (modified Dubowitz)

1979

FDA approval of ritodrine hydrochloride for treatment of premature labor.

1980

Fujiwara

Description of surfactant as treatment for respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)

1980

Description of high frequency ventilation

1980-85

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic in NICU graduates due to transfusions

1981

Greenberg

Endotracheal administration of epinephrine

1981

Harrison, UCSF

Successful fetal surgery for obstructive uropathy. Placement of a fetal urinary catheter (vesicoamniotic shunt) for posterior urethral valves.

1982

"Baby Doe" case, Trisomy 21 with esophageal atresia

1982

Gershanik

Adverse effects of benzyl alcohol

1983

Certification for neonatal nurse practitioners begins

1983

AAP and ACOG publish "Guidelines in Perinatal Care"

1983-1984

Intravenous vitamin E (E-Ferol) causes ascites, liver and renal failure, thrombocytopenia, and death in low birth weight infants

1984

Jet ventilators

1984

Bailey

"Baby Fae," first cross-species heart transplant in newborn at Loma Linda University Medical Center

1985

Controlled trial: Extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in infants with respiratory failure

1985

Use of prophylactic penicillin reduces mortality of infants with sickle cell anemia, provides rationale for neonatal screening for hemoglobinopathies

1985

Controlled trial: cryotherapy for retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)

1985

David Smith and Porter Anderson

Polysaccharide vaccine for Haemophilus influenzae type B (HiB vaccine)

1985

"Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Adoption Reform Act"

1987

Pulse oximetry in newborns

1987

Neonatal resuscitation training program launched by AAP and AHA

1989

Harrison, UCSF

Successful open fetal surgery for congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

1990

Schaeffer

First report of partial liquid ventilation in prematures

1990

Harrison, UCSF

Successful fetal resection of congenital cystic adenomatous malformation of the lung (CCAM).

1990

High-frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV) appears in commercial products

1990

FDA approval of surfactant therapy for respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)

1991

Ballard

New Ballard Score (NBS) for gestational age, extended for extremely premature infants <26 weeks gestation

1991

McNamara

Controlled trial: laser vs. cryotherapy for retinopahy of prematurity (ROP)

1992

Harrison, UCSF

Successful open fetal surgery for resection of sacrococcygeal teratoma (SCT).

1992

AAP guidelines for chemoprophylaxis of Group B Streptococcus

1992

AAP recommends supine sleeping position for infants, followed by 30-40% reduction in incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

1994

Treatment of mothers with zidovudine reduces perinatal transmission of HIV to infants.

1994

Harrison, UCSF

NIH-sponsored clinical trial at UCSF for open repair of fetus with congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

1996

CDC recommendations for Group B Strep screening and chemoprophylaxis

1996

Harrison, UCSF

Successful fetoscopic temporary tracheal occlusion for congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).

1997

FDA approval of nitric oxide for pulmonary hypertension in the newborn

1997

Controlled trial: nitric oxide for pulmonary hypertension in the newborn

1997

Lo

Free fetal DNA demonstrated in maternal blood, basis for new methods of non-invasive screening for fetal genetic defects

1999

Harrison, UCSF

Successful fetoscopic laser treatment of a single A-V communication in twin-twin transfusion syndrome.

2000

Francis S. Collins and J. Craig Venter

Initial mapping of human genome complete

2001

Harrison, UCSF

NIH-sponsored clinical trial for temporary tracheal occusion of fetuses with severe left congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH).

2011

Cell-free fetal DNA testing on maternal blood available as an alternative to amniocentesis or CVS (Sequenom and Illumina).

Note: The dates on the timeline have been gleaned from a variety of sources and are correct to the best of our knowledge, but you should always refer to primary sources for academic purposes. Corrections and suggestions for additions for this timeline are welcome. Please send email about this timeline to webmaster@neonatology.org.

See also: American Pediatrics: Milestones at the Millenium from the AAP Historical Archives Advisory Committee, Pediatrics, June, 2001.


Created 5/1/2002 / Last modified 9/6/2015
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