Kelly de la Rocha
Transient tachypnea is a very fast breathing rate. It happens in newborns that have too much fluid in their lungs. The fluid limits the amount of oxygen these newborns pull into their lungs. As a result, the baby needs to breathe at a faster rate to get enough oxygen.
Babies born with this condition usually recover within 3 days of birth. Transient tachypnea can be easily treated but will need care from a doctor.
During pregnancy, a baby’s lungs are filled with fluid. Chemical signals just before birth will start to clear the fluid out of the lung. Then, physical pressures during labor and birth will push more fluid out. After birth, the baby may also cough some of the fluid out of the lungs. The baby's first breaths should clear out any remaining fluid. Some newborns are not able to clear enough fluid from their lungs. The fluid blocks some oxygen from moving from the lungs to the blood. The low levels of oxygen cause transient tachypnea.
Fluid might not clear from lungs quickly enough if:
Transient tachypnea is more common in newborn boys.
Factors that may increase your baby’s chance of transient tachypnea include:
Transient tachypnea may cause:
The doctor will look at your pregnancy and labor history. A physical exam of your baby will be done.
Tests may include:
Transient tachypnea may not be diagnosed until the symptoms go away. This may not be until 3
days after birth.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for your baby. The main treatment for this condition is supportive care and close monitoring. This may include:
A day or 2 after birth, the baby’s breathing should improve. By the third day of life, all symptoms of transient tachypnea should disappear.
There are no guidelines for preventing transient tachypnea because the exact cause is not known. There are several things you can do to help give birth to a healthy baby:
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
March of Dimes
Caring for Kids—Canadian Pediatrics Society
Transient tachypnea of newborn. Nemours Kids Health website. Available at:
http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/lungs/ttn.html. Updated August 2012. Accessed September 15, 2015.
Transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115727/Transient-tachypnea-of-the-newborn-TTN. Updated March 14, 2016. Accessed September 26, 2016.
Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital. Transient tachypnea of the newborn. Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital website. Available at:
http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=transient-tachypnea-of-the-newborn-90-P02420. Accessed September 15, 2015.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Kari Kassir, MD
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