Diagnosis - Respiratory Distress Syndrome - Diagnosis

RDS is common in premature newborns. Thus, doctors usually recognize and begin treating the disorder as soon as babies are born.

Doctors also do several tests to rule out other conditions that could be causing a newborn's breathing problems. The tests also can confirm that the doctors have diagnosed the condition correctly.

The tests include:

  • Chest X-ray to show whether a newborn has signs of RDS. A chest X-ray also can detect problems, such as a collapsed lung, that may require urgent treatment.
  • Blood tests to see whether a newborn has enough oxygen in the blood. Blood tests also can help find out whether an infection is causing the newborn's breathing problems.
  • Echocardiography (echo) to rule out heart defects as the cause of the newborn's breathing problems.