Transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN) is a term for a mild respiratory problem of babies that begins after birth and lasts about three days. Other terms for TTN are "wet lungs" or type II respiratory distress syndrome.
It is thought that slow absorption of the fluid in the fetal lungs causes TTN. This fluid makes taking in oxygen harder and the baby breathes faster to compensate.
Only a small percentage of all newborns develop TTN. Although premature babies can have TTN, most babies with this problem are full-term. The condition may be more likely to develop in babies delivered by cesarean section because the fluid in the lungs does not get squeezed out as in a vaginal birth.
The following are the most common symptoms of transient tachypnea of the newborn. However, each baby may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of TTN may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your baby's physician for a diagnosis.
Chest x-rays are often used to help diagnose TTN. On x-ray, the lungs show a streaked appearance and appear over-inflated. X-rays are a diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film. However, it may be difficult to tell whether the problem is TTN or another kind of respiratory problem such as hyaline membrane disease. Often, TTN is diagnosed when symptoms suddenly resolve by the third day of life.
Specific treatment for transient tachypnea of the newborn will be determined by your baby's physician based on:
Treatment may include:
Tube feedings may also be necessary if the baby's breathing rate is too high, because of the risk of aspiration of the food.
Once TTN goes away, the baby usually recovers quickly and has no increased risk for additional respiratory problems.