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Home : Specialty Care : Newborn Intensive Care Unit : Transient Tachypnea

Transient Tachypnea

What is transient tachypnea of the newborn?

Transient tachypnea is fast breathing that gradually gets better.
  
What causes transient tachypnea?
It is thought to be due to slow reabsorption of fetal lung fluid. Before birth the lungs continuously make fluid. Some of this fluid is squeezed out as the baby comes down the birth canal. The rest must be absorbed by the baby during the first minutes to hours of life. In babies with TTNB this process may last hours to days. TTNB is more common in babies delivered by cesarean section because they did not have fluid squeezed out with delivery.
  
How does a baby with transient tachypnea act?
The baby will have some difficulty with breathing. S/he may :

  • breathe rapidly
  • make the "ugh" sound with each breath, called grunting.
  • have a widening of the nostrils with each breath, called flaring.
  • need extra oxygen. Room air is 21% oxygen. The baby needs higher oxygen to stay pink.

How is transient tachypnea treated?
Your baby will have his/ her respirations, heart rate, and blood oxygenation monitored. In addition your baby may need one of the following:

  • Oxygen - This can be given through a plastic hood placed over the baby's head or by oxgen into the isolette.
  • CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) - This is oxygen delivered under a small amount of pressure usually through little tubes that fit into the nostrils of the nose. Delivering oxygen under pressure helps keep the fluid out of the air sacs and speeds up its reabsorption.

How long does transient tachypnea last?
The time course is variable. It may last hours or days. Gradually the baby's need for oxygen will decrease. Then, his/her respiratory rate will slowly come down to normal. Some babies have fast respirations for several days.
  
Will it come back?
No, once it resolves, it does not come back. If your baby develops a respiratory problem later on, it is due to some other cause.