Nitric oxide (NO) has vasodilatory effects on the pulmonary vasculature in adults and animals. We examined the effects on systemic oxygenation and blood pressure of inhaling up to 80 parts per million by volume of NO at FiO2 0.9 for up to 30 minutes by 6 infants with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). In all infants this treatment rapidly and significantly increased preductal oxygen saturation (SpO2); in 5 infants postductal SpO2 and oxygen tensions also increased. Inhalation of NO did not cause systemic hypotension or raise methaemoglobin. These data suggest that low levels of inhaled NO have an important role in the reversal of hypoxaemia due to PPHN.