Neonatal Respiratory Diseases
Neonatal respiratory diseases are common in premature newborns born before 32 weeks of pregnancy, because their lungs are not able to make enough, a foamy substance that keeps the lung fully expanded.
Neonatal respiratory diseases include:
- Apnea of prematurity
- Bronchopulmonary dysplasia
- Childhood interstitial lung disease
- Meconium aspiration syndrome
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn
- Pleural disorders
- Transient tachypnea of the newborn
In addition to premature birth, risk factors for neonatal respiratory diseases include low or high birth weight for gestational age; infections, either congenital or acquired during passage through the birth canal; complications during pregnancy or birth; heart defects; and having a in the that controls surfactant production.lung or
To prevent or lower the chance of neonatal respiratory disease caused by premature birth, your doctor may prescribe medicines calledto help speed up your baby’s lung development if you show signs of going into labor early.
After birth, your doctor will check your baby forand of respiratory diseases, such as very slow or irregular breathing, rapid breathing, noisy or gurgled breathing, a weak cry, a rapid heart rate, grunting, flaring of the nostrils with each breath, a bluish tone to your baby’s skin and lips, or a pulling inward of the muscles between the ribs when breathing.
Your newborn’s doctor may diagnose a respiratory disease based on a physical examination, levels of oxygen and chest X-ray. An echocardiogram may be performed to check for a possible heart problem that may be causing your baby’s symptoms.in the blood measured by a skin sensor, or a
If your newborn has a respiratory disease, treatment may include suction of secretions in the mouth and throat, oxygen therapy, or a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device applied to the nose or mouth. Your baby may also be intubated, which involves placing a small tube in the airway that is attached to ventilator support. For severe respiratory disease, your baby may need a heart-lung machine called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Depending on the neonatal respiratory disease, other treatments may include surfactant replacement therapy and nitric oxide to the lungs to improve blood flow there, caffeine to regulate breathing, or antibiotics or other medicine to treat an infection.
Neonatal respiratory diseases could lead to low levels of oxygen to the body, affecting vital organs such as the heart, brain, and kidney. They can also lead to long-term lung damage, frequent lung infections, and developmental delays. With careful treatment, the complications of neonatal respiratory diseases may go away over time. Learn more about Research for Your Health.studies to improve the quality of life for newborns who have respiratory diseases in
Research for Your Health
Improving health with current research
- Neonatal Respiratory Diseases
Learn about the following ways the NHLBI continues to translate current research into improved health for newborns who have respiratory diseases. Research on this topic is part of the NHLBI’s broader commitment to advancing lung disease scientific discovery.
- Pioneering Advances in Critical Care for Newborns Who Have Respiratory Diseases. Ground-breaking research funded by the NHLBI has helped establish the standard of care for neonatal respiratory diseases. Our research helped develop the use of corticosteroids to accelerate lung development in babies at risk for premature birth. We also funded studies to develop the use of surfactant replacement therapy to improve breathing in premature newborns and the use of nitric oxide to treat pulmonary hypertension. These treatment methods continue to significantly improve the survival and long-term quality of life for premature newborns.
- Preventing the Long-Term Complications of Neonatal Respiratory Diseases. The NHLBI has organized several workshops to help direct future research into neonatal respiratory diseases. These workshops have focused on research to improve our understanding of the development of NHLBI Workshop on Prenatal and Perinatal Determinants of Lung Health and Disease in Early Life and NHLBI and NICHD Workshop on Adults Born Preterm: The Epidemiology and Biological Basis for Outcomes for more information. lung disease and eliminate health disparities in the survival and long-term quality of life for newborns who have respiratory diseases. View
- Using Vitamin D to Help Reduce Wheezing in Premature Newborns. Wheezing is a common complication of neonatal respiratory diseases. Research funded by the NHLBI has shown that premature newborns who received regular vitamin D supplements had a lower risk of wheezing than those who did not receive supplements. This finding may help improve clinical care to prevent the complications of respiratory diseases in newborns.
- Identifying the Complications of Oxygen Therapy. NHLBI-funded research helped determine that forceful and prolonged oxygen therapy in newborns can cause chronic lung disease. This finding helped change the guidelines for the use of oxygen therapy to treat newborns who have respiratory diseases.
- Advancing the understanding of lung development. The NHLBI-funded Molecular Atlas of Lung Development Program (LungMAP) is integrating many datasets to build a molecular map of the developing lung in both humans and mice. The program is helping advance lung research, in part through its web-based data resource, called BREATH, that allows users to access LungMAP data and findings.
Advancing research for improved health
- Neonatal Respiratory Diseases
In support of our mission, we are committed to advancing neonatal respiratory diseases research, in part through the following ways.
- We fund research. The research we fund today will help improve our future health. Our Division of Lung Diseases, which includes the Lung Biology and Disease Branch, oversees much of the research on neonatal respiratory diseases we fund, helping us to understand, prevent, and manage neonatal respiratory diseases. Search the NIH RePORTer to learn about research the NHLBI is funding on neonatal respiratory diseases.
- We stimulate high-impact research. The NHLBI Strategic Vision highlights ways we may support research over the next decade.
Learn about exciting research areas the NHLBI is exploring about neonatal respiratory diseases.
- Facilitating research into lung development. The NHLBI supports the Biorepository for Investigation of Neonatal Diseases of the Lung (BRINDL) – NL, which works together with LungMAP to provide qualified investigators with samples of lung tissue for research.
- Determining the impact of congenital defects on lung development. NHLBI-funded researchers are using animal models to study the ways in which congenital heart and lung defects can lead to neonatal respiratory diseases. Results from this study will help provide personalized treatments for newborns who have breathing problems due to congenital defects.
- Exploring new methods to prevent and treat bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is a common chronic lung disease among premature newborns. We fund research to develop new therapies such as the use of hydrocortisone to prevent and treat BPD.
- Improving our understanding of lung development. We fund research to better understand how smoke exposure, fetal growth, and our genes control lung development before birth. These studies will contribute to advances in the screening, prevention, and treatment of neonatal respiratory diseases.
- Understanding the development of long-term complications of neonatal respiratory diseases. Some complications of neonatal respiratory diseases can last a lifetime. We fund research to explore the causes of these long-term complications. This includes using chest magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to understand lung damage caused by neonatal respiratory diseases and examining the role of the in the development of chronic lung diseases.
- Understanding how long-term complications of neonatal respiratory disease may affect child development. We fund research to find associations between neonatal lung disease and future lung function, learning, mobility, and behavioral development when a child enters school.
Participate in NHLBI Clinical Trials
We lead or sponsor many studies on neonatal respiratory diseases. See if you or someone you know is eligible to participate in our.
Has your newborn been diagnosed with patent ductus arteriosus?
Is your premature newborn in a neonatal intensive care unit in Chicago, Illinois?
Is your newborn in the neonatal intensive care unit at Holtz Children’s Hospital in Miami?
Was your newborn born prematurely?
Is your newborn receiving care at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Women and Infants Center?
Is your newborn in the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital?
Have you been diagnosed with high blood pressure while pregnant?
After reading our Neonatal Respiratory Diseases Health Topic, you may be interested in additional information found in the following resources.
Related Health Topics
- Neonatal Respiratory Diseases
- Neonatal Respiratory Diseases
- Apnea of Prematurity (National Library of Medicine [NLM], MedlinePlus)
- Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (NLM, MedlinePlus)
- Cesarean Section (NLM, MedlinePlus)
- Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome (American Thoracic Society [ATS])
- Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (NLM, MedlinePlus)
- Lung Transplantation In Children (ATS)
- Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (NLM, MedlinePlus)
- Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome (NLM, MedlinePlus)
- Oxygen Therapy (NLM, MedlinePlus)
- Preterm Infant (NLM, Medline Plus)
- Pulmonary Rehabilitation (NLM, MedlinePlus)
- Pulmonary Sequestration (National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences)
- Respiratory Distress Syndrome of the Newborn (ATS)
- Tracheoesophageal Fistula and Esophageal Atresia Repair (NLM, MedlinePlus)
- Transient Tachypnea - Newborn (NLM, MedlinePlus)
- Treatment of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (ATS)
- Using a Home Ventilator with a Child (ATS)
- What is Interstitial Lung Disease in Children? (ATS)