Please be patient! It may take up to ONE minute to load all the Engines.
Problems? Please contact our support.
Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) in infants
Alternative namesHyaline membrane disease; Infant respiratory distress syndrome (IRDS) ; Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome; RDS - infants
DefinitionRespiratory distress syndrome is one of the most common lung disorders in premature infants and causes increasing difficulty in breathing. See also ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) .
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Respiratory distress syndrome affects 10% of all premature infants and only rarely affects those born at full-term. The disease is caused by a lack of pulmonary surfactant, a chemical that normally appears in mature lungs.
This substance reduces the surface tension within the air sacs, keeping them from collapsing and allowing them to inflate with air more easily.
In respiratory distress syndrome, the air sacs collapse ( electasis ) and prevent the child from breathing properly. Symptoms usually appear shortly after birth and become progressively more severe.
Risk factors are prematurity , diabetes in the mother, and stress during delivery that produces acidosis in the newborn at birth.
Signs and tests
The treatment is prompt resuscitation of all high-risk and premature infants by a pediatric resuscitation team. High oxygen and humidity concentrations are given initially.
Infants with mild symptoms are given supplemental oxygen, while those with severe symptoms are managed on a ventilator to deliver both oxygen and pressure to keep the lungs inflated.
Oxygen and pressure will be decreased as soon as possible to prevent side effects associated with too much oxygen or pressure.
Studies find that this treatment can prevent or improve the course of respiratory distress syndrome and enough research has now been done on surfactants to show that they reduce mortality from IRDS.
The condition may persist or worsen for two to four days after birth with improvement thereafter. Some infants with severe respiratory distress syndrome will die.
Long-term complications may develop as a result of oxygen toxicity, high pressures delivered to the lungs, the severity of the condition itself, or periods when the brain or other organs did not receive enough oxygen.
Calling your health care providerThis disorder usually develops shortly after birth while the baby is still in the hospital. If you have given birth at home or outside a medical center, seek emergency attention if your baby develops any difficulty breathing.
Since IRDS usually occurs as a result of prematurity, every effort is usually made to help the mother carry the baby to term. This begins with the first prenatal visit, which should be scheduled as soon as a mother discovers that she is pregnant. Statistics clearly show that good prenatal care results in larger, healthier babies and fewer premature births.
If a mother does goes into labor prematurely, every effort is made to stop the labor and allow the pregnancy to continue to full term. A lab test called the L/S ratio (a measurement of the fetus' lung maturity) is made and labor is usually halted until the L/S ratio shows that the lungs have matured. The infant's chances of not developing IRDS, if not 100% , are at least improved.
Update Date: 7/26/2002Elizabeth Hait, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT