Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is a lung disorder in newborns that causes problems breathing. It needs to be treated right away to avoid severe health problems.
RDS happens when an infant's lungs have not developed enough. Immature lungs lack a fluid called surfactant that helps the lungs open wide and take in air. The lungs do not open well without it. This makes it hard to breathe.
Respiratory distress syndrome. The Merck Manual Professional Edition website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/respiratory_disorders_in_neonates/respiratory_distress_syndrome.html. Updated August 13, 2019. Accessed January 10, 2020.
Sweet DG, Carnielli V, et al. European consensus guidelines on the management of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome in preterm infants - 2013 update. Neonatology. 2013;103(4):353-368.
Last reviewed September 2019 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 9/8/2020
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