Respiratory distress syndrome

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aka surfactant deficient disease, hyaline membrane disease


Most common cause of death of newborns, disease of premature, caused by inability of premature type II pneumocytes to produce surfactant.

Radiographic Findings

  • Low lung volumes
  • Bilateral granular opacities representing collapsed alveoli and adjacent open alveoli
  • Prominent air bronchograms.

If patients are intubated immediately their lungs may not show RDS changes but then it is more evident when extubated.

Differential but with Increased Lung Volume

  • Meconium aspiration - chemical pneumonitis, post term
  • Neonatal pneumonia - PROM, GBS
  • Transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN) - delivered by c-section