Transient tachypnea is a respiratory disorder usually seen shortly after delivery in full- or near-term babies.
As the baby grows in the womb, the lungs make a special fluid. This fluid fills the developing baby's lungs and helps them grow. When the baby is born at term, chemicals released during labor tell the lungs to stop making this special fluid. The baby's lungs start removing or reabsorbing it.
The first few breaths your baby takes after delivery fill the lungs with air and help to clear most of the remaining lung fluid.
Leftover fluid in the lungs causes the baby to breathe rapidly and makes it harder for the baby to keep the small air sacs of the lungs open.
Transient tachypnea is more likely to occur in babies who were:
Newborns with transient tachypnea have breathing problems soon after birth, usually within 1 - 2 hours.
The mother’s pregnancy and labor history are important to make the diagnosis.
Tests performed on the baby may include:
Transient tachypnea is usually diagnosed after the baby is monitored for 1 or 2 days.
Your baby will be given oxygen to keep the blood oxygen level stable. Your baby will usually need the most oxygen within a few hours after birth. Then the baby's oxygen needs will begin to decrease. Most infants with transient tachypnea improve in less than 12 - 24 hours.
Very rapid breathing can cause the baby to feed poorly. Fluids and nutrients will be given through a vein until your baby improves. Your baby may also receive antibiotics until the health care provider is sure there is no infection. Rarely, babies with transient tachypnea may have lung problems that last for as long as 1 week.
The condition usually goes away within 24 - 48 hours after delivery. Babies who have had transient tachypnea usually have no further problems from the condition, and do not need special care or follow-up other than their routine pediatrician visits.
TTN; Wet lungs - newborns; Retained fetal lung fluid; Transient RDS; Prolonged transition
Dudell GG, Stoll BJ. Respiratory tract disorders. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 95.
Updated by: Kimberly G Lee, MD, MSc, IBCLC, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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