Newborns usually struggle for breath right after birth. This is usually marked by an irregular or alternating breathing pattern, along with occasional pauses. Babies born prematurely are particularly at a higher risk of being troubled by breathing difficulties.The problem is termed as Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). A senior respiratory expert at MGS Hospital West Delhi explains that RDS in infants occurs because of underdeveloped lungs. This leads to insufficient production of surfactant, a slippery substance that reduces surface tension in the lungs and prevents deflating of the air sacs. “Neonatal respiratory distress can be life-threatening. Immediate medical intervention is, thus, highly recommended,”cautions the pulmonologist from MGS Hospital.
Causes of infant breathing disorders
According to lung specialists at MGS Hospital, factors that increase the risk of RDS in babies include:
- Caesarean delivery or artificially induced labor
- Rapid labor
- Reduced blood flow to the baby during pregnancy
- Diabetes in the mother
- Multiple pregnancies (twins or more)
Symptoms determining the occurrence of breathing problems in infants
The most common signs that indicate a breathing disorder in an infant are:
- Irregular and shallow breathing
- Whistling noise
- Deep cough
- Nasal flaring
- Decreased urination
Tests to diagnose RDS in newborns
“There are multiple tests that aid a neonatologist in detecting the newborn’s condition”, says chest specialists at MGS Hospital. These diagnostic tests could be:
- A chest X-ray to analyse the appearance of the baby’s lungs
- A pulse oximetry test measure oxygen levels in the infant’s blood
- An arterial blood gas test to check oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood along with measuring acid levels
- Lab tests to find out if infection is a cause of the infant’s breathing problem
Treatment for infant breathing disorders
According topaediatric pulmonologists at MGS Hospital, the treatment plan usually varies as per the infant’s condition and the severity of symptoms. Treatments for infant breathing disorders may include:
- Oral drugs, such as respiratory medications to open airways or artificial surfactantto prevent collapsing of lungs. Also, diuretics help removing excess fluid from the lungs.
- Oxygen therapy, when the newborn is unable to inhale enough oxygen naturally.
- Mechanical ventilation, for advanced breathing support if the baby is too immature, weak or sick to breathe on his own.
If your newborn is facing a similar problem, it is advisable to rush the baby to the hospital for proper medical care. You could consult experienced pediatric pulmonologists at MGS Hospital, which is considered the best hospital in West Delhi. Visit (weblink) to book an appointment today!