What is transient tachypnea? Transient tachypnea is rapid breathing due to slow reabsorption of fetal lung fluid. In the womb, a baby's lungs continuously make fluid. Some of this fluid is squeezed out as the baby comes down the birth canal. The rest must be absorbed by the baby's tissues during the first minutes to hours of life.
Is transient tachypnea dangerous? No. The breathing abnormalities may last hours or days, but should disappear on their own and will not present long-term problems.
How is transient tachypnea treated? A baby with transient tachypnea will have his respiration, heart rate, and oxygenation monitored. Some babies may also need additional oxygen to be given through a hood or a small tube inserted in baby's nose, which can help keep the fluid out of the lungs' air sacs and speed up its reabsorption.
Sources: University of Wisconsin Center for Perinatal Care; The Nemours Foundation; American Academy of Pediatrics; American Lung Association
Reviewed 2/02 by Jane Forester, MD
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