Symptoms And Treatment Of Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome

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Overview of Disease Each day there are thousands of babies born, and families wait for their new loved ones to enter the world. However, there are also many complications that may occur with child birth. “Approximately 50% of neonates born at 26-28 weeks ' gestation develop respiratory distress syndrome, whereas less than 30% of premature neonates born at 30-31 weeks’ gestation develop the condition” (MedScape). Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome, or IRDS for short, is a restrictive lung disease that commonly occurs in premature babies. A common cause is a lack of surfactant that is commonly found in developed lungs. Surfactant is a liquid that uses proteins and lipids to help decrease the surface tension between the alveoli to create…show more content…
Pathophysiology When premature babies are born they do not have fully developed lungs because the lungs are one of the last organs in the body to be produced. The alveoli in the baby’s lungs have not yet started making surfactant, which is typically produced when the baby is 34-36 weeks’ gestation. When the alveoli do not have surfactant, the alveoli want to naturally collapse. Surfactant helps to keep the alveoli open and create more surface area for gas exchange. If you were to look at the infant’s lungs using a microscope, you can see that lungs look as though they are solid from the areas where the alveoli have collapsed, also known as atelectasis. To try to compensate for the atelectasis, “the respiratory bronchioles, alveolar ducts, and some of the alveoli dilate to decrease airway resistance and increase gas exchange” (Jardins 476). As the disease worsens, the walls of the alveoli become lined with a hyaline membrane that is made up of dead cells and proteins that make it nearly impossible for gas exchange to occur. It makes the lungs stiff and much harder to ventilate. With the lungs being noncompliant, the baby starts to become hypoxic. When the infant becomes hypoxic, blood is shunted away from the other organs in the body and venous return and cardiac output are decreased. “Hypoxemia is common in pulmonary hypertension (PH) and may be partly related to ventilation/perfusion mismatch, low diffusion

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