We modified an algorithm for mechanical ventilation of infants with respiratory distress syndrome to create an interactive user-friendly computer program. To determine the effectiveness of this computer program, we evaluated the correction of deranged arterial blood gases in three groups of neonates: group I, treated before the introduction of the computer into the nursery; group II, managed by pediatric residents with the guidance of the computer program; group III, treated after the introduction of the computer into the nursery but managed without consideration of the computer output. Arterial blood gas values improved more frequently in the neonates managed with computer consultation (group II, 65/75, 87%) than in both control groups (group I, 37/57, 65%, P less than .005; and group III, 46/63, 73%, P less than .05). Furthermore, increases in ventilatory support in the presence of normal arterial blood gas values occurred only in patients managed without computer guidance. In a teaching institution, more effective care of neonates with respiratory failure may be facilitated by computer-assisted management of mechanical ventilators.