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Surfactant in the Treatment of Respiratory Distress Syndrome

12-13-2011 07:02 AM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: ONY Inc.

New York,NY:Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is one of the most common lung disorders in premature infants. RDS is a breathing disorder that affects about 10 in 100 premature infants in the United States. The earlier an infant is born, the less developed the lungs are and the higher the risk of RDS.

The main cause of respiratory distress syndrome is a lack of surfactant in the lungs, which is a slippery, protective substance that coats the insides of the lungs. Without sufficient amounts of surfactant, the air sacs in the lungs, called alveoli, collapse and cannot inflate to draw in enough air. Infants do not start making surfactant until a few weeks before birth; therefore, premature infants may not have made enough to breathe normally.

Premature infants will begin to make enough surfactant within a few days of birth. Until they can breathe without assistance, respiratory distress syndrome can be treated with a variety of different methods. Artificial surfactants, such as Infasurf and Curosurf, are available as viable options for treatment. Surfactants such as these are delivered directly into the infant's lungs through a breathing tube inserted into the mouth and throat. Breathing is then assisted by hand or the breathing tube is connected to a mechanical ventilator.

The appropriate dosage of surfactant depends on the infant's weight. For the smallest infants weighing around 600-650 grams, 3 milliliters may be sufficient, whereas for a larger premature infant who weighs around 1900-2000 grams, double the dosage may more appropriate. Usually, one dose of surfactants like Curosurf and Infasurf is enough to treat respiratory distress syndrome; however repeated dosage may be necessary over the course of several days.

Infants with RDS should also be given warm, moist oxygen. Oxygen can be delivered through a ventilator or through a process known as nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) that administers pressurized air through the nose to help keep airways open. Other options include inhaling nitric oxide to improve oxygen levels or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, which directly puts oxygen in the blood and circulates it back into the infant's body. Oxygen therapy is critical for the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome, but should be given carefully to avoid the side effects of too much

During the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome, the infant should receive supportive care in the
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. To aid with recovery, other factors include:
-minimizing disturbances
-gentle handling
-maintaining ideal body temperature

Low mortality rate is the biggest advantage of using surfactant replacement therapy to treat neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) in infants. Infasurf is a pure lung surfactant that helps in improving the breathing process of the new-born patient suffering from RDS.

ONY, Inc.
1576 Sweet Home Rd.
Amherst, NY 14228
Tel: (716) 636-9096
Toll-free: (877) 274-4469
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern, excluding holidays

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