What is transient tachypnea of the newborn?
Transient tachypnea of the newborn, or TTN, is a respiratory disorder usually seen shortly after delivery in babies who are born near or at term. Transient means it is short lived (usually less than 24 hours) and tachypnea means rapid breathing.
Newborns with TTN have respiratory problems soon after birth (within one to two hours). These usually consist of some combination of rapid, noisy breathing (grunting) and/or the use of extra muscles to breathe (flaring nostrils or movements between the ribs or breastbone known as retractions).
The mother’s pregnancy and labor history are important to make the diagnosis. A chest X-ray may be taken to eliminate other causes of respiratory problems. A blood count and blood culture may be drawn to try to rule out infection. TTN is usually diagnosed after monitoring your baby for one to two days.
Your baby will be given oxygen as needed to maintain an adequate blood oxygen level. Pulse oximeter and/or blood gases may be used. Your baby’s oxygen requirement will usually be highest within a few hours after birth and then begin to decrease. Most infants with TTN improve in 12 to 24 hours.
If your baby is breathing very rapidly, feedings may be withheld and intravenous fluids may be given for nutrition until he or she improves. Your baby may also receive antibiotics during this time until infection is ruled out. Rarely, babies with TTN may have persistent lung problems for as long as one week.
TTN usually resolves completely within 24 hours after delivery. Babies who have had TTN usually have no further problems from it and require no special care or follow-up other than their routine pediatrician visits.