• condition where a newborn baby’s lungs are not fully developed
  • premature babies cannot get enough oxygen
  • ooze fluid at first, but become dry, crusty, cracked and flaky over time


  1. blue-coloured lips, fingers and toes 
  2. rapid, shallow breathing
  3. a grunting sound when breathing
  4. bluish tint to skin
  5. reduced urine output


  1. Premature infants lack surfactant 
  2. Problems with the genes can play a role in lung development

Risk factors

  • the baby being underweight
  • poor lung development, which can be caused by a variety of illnesses
  • mother having diabetes
  • a sibling with RDS
  • multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets)
  • impaired blood flow to the baby during delivery
  • delivery by cesarean

Diagnostic Tests

  • chest X-ray to examine the lungs
  • A blood gas analysis will check oxygen levels in the blood.
  • a physical examination
  • a pulse oximetry test


  • surfactant replacement therapy
  • a ventilator or nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) machine
  • oxygen therapy
  • artificial surfactant, which helps to restore normal lung function
  • vapotherm


  • repeating arginine-lysine 
  • synthetic peptide mimics 
  • Beractant 
  • Poractant 
  • Calfactant
  • Synthetic KL4 protein (sinapultide)


  • mental retardation
  • blindness 
  • blood clots
  • bleeding in lungs or brain
  • bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • collapsed lung (pneumothorax)
  • kidney failure (in severe RDS)
  • longer-term breathing problems
  • risk of brain damage


  • Preventing premature delivery 
  • avoid smoking, illicit drugs, and alcohol. 
  • get consistent prenatal care throughout pregnancy 
  • corticosteroids. 
  • Betamethasone helps stimulate the development of the baby’s lungs.