Neonatal Lung Diseases

  • Thordur ThorkelssonEmail author
  • Gunnlaugur Sigfusson


Lung diseases are one of the main causes of neonatal morbidity and mortality. The majority of them result from lung immaturity and difficulties in the transition from intrauterine to extrauterine life. Respiratory distress syndrome occurs primarily due to surfactant deficiency and is the most common cause of respiratory distress in the preterm infant, but can also be seen in infants born at term. Transient tachypnea of the newborn is a common cause of neonatal respiratory dysfunction and results from delayed absorption of fetal lung fluid. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia is a form of chronic lung disease which is today primarily seen in the most preterm infants and is characterized by the need for prolonged respiratory support and oxygen supplementation. Other lung diseases affecting the newborn infant include pneumonias, aspiration of meconium stained amniotic fluid and congenital anomalies. These conditions are sometimes further complicated by persistent pulmonary hypertension, which is more commonly seen in the term than the preterm infant. Advances in the management of lung diseases affecting the newborn infant have resulted in marked improvement in their survival. These therapies include the administration of pulmonary surfactant, the use of nitric oxide for persistent pulmonary hypertension and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation therapy. Advances in respiratory support have resulted in decreased ventilatory-induced lung injury and thus improved pulmonary outcome.

This chapter gives an overview of fetal lung development, neonatal respiratory physiology and the clinical presentation of respiratory dysfunction in the neonate. The etiology and pathophysiology of the most common neonatal lung diseases and their management are also discussed.


Newborn Preterm Lung diseases Respiratory distress syndrome Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn Surfactant Bronchopulmonary dysplasia Congenital diaphragmatic hernia 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeonatologyChildren’s Hospital IcelandReykjavikIceland
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsChildren’s Hospital IcelandReykjavikIceland

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