RDS is one of the conditions affecting babies with very low birth weight (VLBW).
The premature baby will breathe rapidly, have in-drawing of the muscles of the chest wall or neck, and make a grunting sound. The baby will require oxygen delivered via a breathing device (ventilator or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)) to maintain normal blood oxygen levels.
Pre-surfactant administration Post-surfactant administration
Doctors will make the diagnosis after examining the baby, with the help of blood tests and chest X-rays.
Babies with RDS can be treated with surfactant and supported with breathing devices, either a ventilator (breathing machine) or a CPAP device. Following recovery from this respiratory condition, the progress of the baby depends on his or her overall general condition.
Occasionally, when the baby has severe RDS, air may leak out of the airways and prevent the lung from expanding. This can be treated immediately by placing a tube into the lung cavity to drain out the air.