Respiratory Distress Syndrome

  • Etiology: pre-term infants have not begun producing surfactant, lack of surfactant results in diffuse microatelectasis
  • CXR: low lung volumes and symmetrical (apex to base as well as left to right) ground glass opacity in both lungs (until artificial surfactant is given), bell-shaped chest
  • Complications: can choose 2 paths:
    — Chronic lung disease – normally expanded, usually resolves + does well
    — Bronchopulmonary dysplasia – hyperexpanded due to blebs, persists very long, does not do as well
  • Clinical: called respiratory distress syndrome in < 30 days, bronchopulmonary dysplasia + chronic lung disease in > 30 days, can also rarely been seen in term infants who congenitally lack ability to produce surfactant

Cases of Respiratory Distress Syndrome

CXR of respiratory distress syndrome
Initial CXR shows low lung volumes and symmetrical (apex to base as well as left to right) ground glass opacity in both lungs.
CXR of respiratory distress syndrome
CXR AP shows bilaterally poorly expanded lungs with diffuse ground-glass opacities throughout the lungs.