How long does respiratory distress syndrome last in newborns?
How long the newborn baby has to cope with the respiratory distress syndrome depends strongly on the stage of the disease. If the respiratory distress syndrome is already treated quickly and specifically in a lower stage, it usually lasts only a few days. The limiting factor in the fastest possible healing of the syndrome is that the surfactant is formed in the child’s lungs as a result of drug therapy, or that the surfactant applied directly to the trachea is sufficiently distributed on the surface of the lungs. If the disease is already in a higher stage, the duration is more difficult to predict. Especially in stage IV, lifelong consequences for the child cannot be ruled out.
Prognosis of the respiratory distress syndrome in newborns
Whether and what consequences arise from a childhood respiratory distress syndrome, and if so, which ones, depends strongly on how quickly the treatment of the disease is initiated and at what stage the disease is in. Untreated, the disease can be fatal, but with rapid and appropriate treatment, the mortality rate is extremely low. Complications and consequential damage also rarely occur with a well treated respiratory distress syndrome.
Nevertheless, possible consequences of a respiratory distress syndrome should be mentioned here: First of all, the lack of oxygen can affect the child’s body. Of all the organs, the brain has the lowest tolerance and is therefore the first to be damaged. Due to the relative stiffness of the lungs, even a complete lung can collapse (pneumothorax).
This can then be treated with the help of a drainage. In addition, ventilation with constant pressure and additional oxygen can create a so-called “ventilation lung“. This is characterised by a combination of minimal pressure-related injuries, local inflammation, possibly pulmonary oedema, localised over-inflation and collapsed alveoli. This secondary disease can normally be treated by adjusting the ventilation pressure and oxygen content, usually without any problems. Another complication of preterm birth can be found here: Premature Infant Retinopathy of Birth