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Transient Tachypnea of Newborn

(TTN; Wet Lungs; Type II Respiratory Distress Syndrome; Retained Fetal Lung Fluid; Transient RDS)

Definition

Transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN) is a very fast breathing rate at birth or in the first few hours of life.
Respiratory System of an Infant
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Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

A baby’s lungs are filled with fluid during pregnancy. TTN happens when newborns do not clear this fluid after being born. This limits the amount of oxygen a baby can breathe and causes them to breathe faster. It is not known why this happens.

Risk Factors

TTN is more common in newborn boys, large babies, and premature babies. Other things that may raise the risk are:
  • Birth by Cesarean section with or without labor
  • Diabetes or asthma in the mother
  • Being pregnant with more than one baby

Symptoms

TTN may cause:
  • Fast, difficult breathing
  • Grunting or moaning sounds when breathing out
  • Flared nostrils
  • A chest that sinks in between the ribs with each breath
  • Skin around the mouth and nose that is blue in color

Diagnosis

The doctor will look at your pregnancy and labor history. A physical exam of the baby will be done.
An oxygen sensor may be placed on the baby's foot to find out how much oxygen is making it into the blood from the lungs. A chest x-ray may be done to look for signs of fluid.
TTN may not be diagnosed until the symptoms go away. This may not be until three days after birth.

Treatment

Babies usually get better within three days of birth. The goal of treatment is supportive care and monitoring. This can be done with:
  • Oxygen or breathing support
  • Fluids and nutrition by IV or a feeding tube in the nose

Prevention

There are no guidelines to prevent TTN. The exact cause is not known.

RESOURCES

Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
http://www.healthychildren.org
March of Dimes
http://www.marchofdimes.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Caring for Kids—Canadian Pediatrics Society
http://www.cps.ca
Health Canada
https://www.canada.ca

References

Transient tachypnea of newborn. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/lungs/ttn.html. Updated August 2019. Accessed January 7, 2020.
Transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/transient-tachypnea-of-the-newborn-ttn . Updated April 9, 2017. Accessed January 7, 2020.
Transient tachypnea of the newborn. Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital website. Available at: http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=transient-tachypnea-of-the-newborn-90-P02420. Accessed January 7, 2020.
Yurdakok M, Ozek E. Transient tachypnea of the newborn: the treatment strategies. Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(21):3046-3049.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2019
  • Update Date: 01/07/2020
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