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Transient tachypnea of the newborn


Transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN, TTNB, or "transitory tachypnea of newborn") is a respiratory problem that can be seen in the newborn shortly after delivery. Amongst causes of respiratory distress in term neonates, it is the most common. It consists of a period of rapid breathing (higher than the normal range of 30-60 times per minute). It is likely due to amniotic fluid remaining in the lungs after birth. Usually, this condition resolves over 24–48 hours. Treatment is supportive and may include supplemental oxygen and antibiotics. The chest x-ray shows hyperinflation of the lungs including prominent pulmonary vascular markings, flattening of the diaphragm, and fluid in the horizontal fissure of the right lung.


Due to the higher incidence of TTN in newborns delivered by caesarean section, it has been postulated that TTN could result from a delayed absorption of fetal lung fluid from the pulmonary lymphatic system. The increased fluid in the lungs leads to increased airway resistance and reduced lung compliance. It is thought this could be from lower levels of circulating catecholamines after a caesarean section, which are believed to be necessary to alter the function of the ENaC channel to absorb excess fluid from the lungs. Pulmonary immaturity has also been proposed as a causative factor. Levels of phosphatidylglycerol (an indicator of lung maturity) were found to be negative in certain newborns

Mild surfactant deficiency has also been suggested as a causative factor.

Clinical evaluation

TTN is a diagnosis of exclusion as it is a benign condition that can have symptoms and signs similar to more serious conditions, such as respiratory distress syndrome. A chest X-ray may show a radiopaque line - fluid - in the horizontal fissure of the right lung, fluid infiltrate throughout alveoli or fluid in individual lung lobes. The lungs may also appear hyperinflated.


Supportive care is the treatment of choice for TTN. This may include withholding oral feeding in periods of extreme tachypnea (over 60 breaths per minute) to prevent aspiration, supplemental oxygen, and CPAP.


Transient tachypnea of the newborn occurs in approximately 1 in 100 preterm infants and 3.6-5.7 per 1000 term infants. It is most common in infants born by Cesarian section without a trial of labor after 35 weeks' gestation. Male infants and infants with an umbilical cord prolapse or perinatal asphyxia are at higher risk. Parental risk factors include use of pain control or anesthesia during labor, asthma, and diabetes.