Transient Tachypnea of Newborn (TTN, Wet Lungs, Type II Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Retained Fetal Lung Fluid, Transient RDS)

Pronounced: TRAN-see-ENT TAK-ip-NEE-ah

En Espaol (Spanish Version)


Transient tachypnea is a respiratory problem that occurs in 1% to 2% of newborns. It occurs when fluid does not leave the lungs as quickly as it should after birth. Babies born with this condition usually recover within three days of birth.

Transient tachypnea can be easily treated, but requires care from a doctor.

Respiratory System of an Infant

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2008 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.


Before birth, a babys lungs are normally filled with amniotic fluid. During labor, chemical signals tell the lungs to start removing the fluid. When the baby passes through the birth canal, the chest is squeezed. That pressure may help clear some of the fluid from the lungs. After birth, the baby may also cough some of the fluid out. Once the baby starts to breathe, air fills the lungs and helps clear out any remaining fluid. Fluid might not clear from lungs quickly enough if:

  • The baby doesnt respond well to the chemical signals during labor
  • Fluid isnt squeezed out of the lungs in the birth canal

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. The following factors increase your childs chance of developing transient tachypnea:

Cesarean deliveryLarge babyDelayed cord clamping Rapid vaginal deliveryExcess maternal fluid administrationSex: male Symptoms If your newborn experiences any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to transient tachypnea. These symptoms may be caused by other health conditions. Symptoms include: Rapid, labored breathing (over 60 breaths per minute)Grunting or moaning sounds when exhalingFlaring of the nostrilsRetractionswith each breath, the chest appears to sink in between the ribs or under the ribcageCyanosisskin has a bluish tinge around the mouth and nose DiagnosisThe doctor will look at your pregnancy and labor history. He or she will also examine your baby and perform diagnostic tests. Tests may include: Blood tests, such as: Complete blood countto look for signs of infection, such as pneumoniaBlood cultureto look for signs of infectionBlood gas determinationto check the oxygen level in the babys blood; may be repeated throughout the hospital stayChest x-ray a radiograph of the lungs used to check for causes of respiratory problems Pulse-oximetry monitoringa piece of tape containing an oxygen sensor is placed on the babys foot. It is connected to a monitor that tells the doctor how well the lungs are working.Often, transient tachypnea isnt diagnosed until the symptoms go away, usually by threedays after birth.
TreatmentTalk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Supportive care and close monitoring are the mainstays of treatment. Additional treatment options include the following:Supplemental oxygenthe baby receives extra oxygen through a mask or nasal prongs.Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)a tube is placed in the babys nose. A breathing machine pushes a continuous flow of air or oxygen into the airways to keep them open.Antibioticsintravenous (IV) antibiotics may be given to the baby until test results show that he or she doesnt have an infection.Supplemental feedingswhen struggling to breathe, it can be difficult for an infant to nurse. In such a case, an IV line that delivers fluids, glucose, and electrolytes is utilized.Ventilator supportin rare cases, a machine is used to help the baby breathe.A day or two after birth, the childs breathing should improve. By the third day of life, all symptoms of transient tachypnea should disappear. Prevention There are no guidelines for preventing transient tachypnea because the exact cause is not known. But there are several things you can do to help ensure you will give birth to a healthy baby: Eat a healthful diet, one that is low in saturated fat and rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.Have regular prenatal check-ups.Dont smoke. If you smoke, quit.Avoid drugs and alcohol. RESOURCES:
Lucille Packard Childrens Hospital Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Penn State CANADIAN RESOURCES: About Kids Health Sick Kids (The Hospital for Sick Children) References: Finberg L, Kleinman RE. Saunders Manual of Pediatric Practice . 2nd Ed. Philadelphia PA: Saunders; 2002. RM Kleigman, RE Behrman, HB Jenson, BF Stanton. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics . 18th Edition. Eds. Saunders Publishers, Philadelphia PA, 2007. Taussig LM, Landau LI. Pediatric Respiratory Medicine . St. Louis, MO: Mosby; 1999. Transient tachypneanewborn. The National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health Medline Plus website. Available at: . Accessed September 12, 2005. Transient tachypnea of the newborn. Lucille Packard Childrens Hospital website. Available at: . Accessed September 12, 2005. Transient tachypnea of the newborn. Penn State Childrens Hospital website. Available at: . Accessed September 12, 2005. Transient tachypnea of the newborn. University of Michigan Health System website. Available at: . Accessed September 12, 2005. Last reviewed January 2008 by Kari L. Kassir, MDPlease be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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