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Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn

(Neonatal Wet Lung Syndrome)


Arcangela Lattari Balest

, MD, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine

Reviewed/Revised Jul 2021 | Modified Sep 2022
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Transient tachypnea of the newborn is transient respiratory distress caused by delayed resorption of fetal lung fluid. Symptoms and signs include tachypnea, retractions, grunting, and nasal flaring. Diagnosis is suspected when there is respiratory distress shortly after birth and is confirmed by chest x-ray. Treatment is supportive care and oxygen.

Transient tachypnea of the newborn affects premature infants Preterm Infants An infant born before 37 weeks gestation is considered preterm. Prematurity is defined by the gestational age at which infants are born. Previously, any infant weighing < 2.5 kg was termed... read more , term infants delivered by elective cesarean delivery without labor, and infants born with respiratory depression, all of whom may have delayed clearance of fetal lung fluid. Part of the cause is immaturity of the sodium channels in lung epithelial cells; these channels are responsible for absorbing sodium (and thus water) from the alveoli. (Mechanisms for normal resorption of fetal lung fluid are discussed in Neonatal pulmonary function Neonatal Pulmonary Function The transition from life in utero to life outside the womb involves multiple changes in physiology and function. See also Perinatal Problems. (See also Liver Structure and Function and Neonatal... read more .) Other risk factors include macrosomia, maternal diabetes and/or asthma, lower gestational age, and male sex.

Symptoms and Signs

Transient tachypnea of the newborn is suspected when the infant develops respiratory distress shortly after birth.

Symptoms of transient tachypnea of the newborn include tachypnea, intracostal and subcostal retractions, grunting, nasal flaring, and possible cyanosis.


  • Chest x-ray

  • Complete blood count (CBC) and blood cultures

If initial findings are indeterminate or suggest infection, antibiotics (eg, ampicillin, gentamicin) are given while awaiting culture results.


Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Drug Name Select Trade
Garamycin, Genoptic, Genoptic SOP, Gentacidin, Gentafair, Gentak , Gentasol, Ocu-Mycin
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