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Aetiology of respiratory distress in the newborn

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

There are very many potential aetiologies of respiratory distress syndrome. In this system they have been divided into aetiologies associated with the:

  • lungs
  • heart
  • thoracic cage
  • airway
  • CNS and muscle
  • metabolism

In order of frequency of presentation, the following are the most common causes of respiratory distress:

  • surfactant deficiency
  • transient tachypnoea
  • meconium aspiration
  • pneumothorax
  • congenital pneumonia
  • congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • upper airway obstruction
  • developmental abnormalities

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