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Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn
By Robin H. Steinhorn, MD

Robin H. Steinhorn, MDQ. What is Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn? Will my baby have any long-term effects from this condition?

A. The term "Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn" is easy to define--it means fast breathing in a newborn baby that gradually gets better. Neonatologists often call this TTN or TTNB. Typically, the baby will have some difficulty with breathing and will often need extra oxygen to stay pink.

We don't really know what causes TTN. However, most neonatologists believe it is due to delayed resorption of the fetal lung fluid. Before birth the lungs continuously make fluid. Some of this fluid is squeezed out as the baby comes down the birth canal. The rest is normally reabsorbed by the baby during the first minutes to hours of life. In babies with TTN this process by delayed for hours or even days. TTN is more common in babies delivered by cesarean section, possibly because the lung fluid was not squeezed out during delivery.

The good news is that by definition, TTN is transient. Treatment includes additional oxygen, although extra support from a ventilator is sometimes needed for a short time. Because it can be difficult to differentiate whether a baby has TTN or another lung disorder such as pneumonia, antibiotics are often administered until we are sure the baby is getting better. Your doctor may also recommend waiting until your baby is recovering to begin feedings.

Complications are very rare, and there are no long-term effects.

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