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Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn (TTN)

image of a baby's head, with nasal cannula In the womb, your baby gets oxygen (air) from your placenta. Since your baby doesn’t have to breathe, his or her lungs are filled with fluid. During and after birth, some of this fluid is pushed out. The baby's lung tissue absorbs the rest. Transient Tachypnea (TTN) occurs when too much fluid is left in the lungs after the birth. This makes it hard for the baby to take in air. Your baby breathes harder and faster to get enough air. The main symptom of TTN is tachypnea (rapid breathing). “Transient” means “passing with time.” A newborn usually has TTN for only a short time.


How is TTN diagnosed?

A doctor or nurse may first listen to the baby’s chest or breathing pattern. A chest X-ray can often detect excess fluid in the lungs. Health care providers measure the level of oxygen in the baby’s blood with a blood sample, or with a device (pulse oximeter) taped to the baby’s hand or foot. This shows whether the baby needs extra oxygen.


What are the treatments for TTN?

Health care providers monitor image of CPAP device over baby's noseyour baby’s pulse, breathing, and blood oxygen levels. This helps to make sure they are in a safe range. Health care providers may give your baby oxygen, using:

  • A nasal cannula (soft tubes fixed under the baby’s nostrils).

  • An oxygen hood (a clear plastic box that fits around the baby’s head).

  • A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. This machine pushes a small amount of air continuously into the baby’s lungs. It helps hold open the airways and clear fluid. The air is blown through a mask that goes over the baby's nose or small plastic tongs that goes into the baby's nose. CPAP may be used with or without supplemental oxygen. 


What are the long-term effects?

In most cases, TTN causes no complications and clears up within 72 hours. Breast or bottle feeding may not be possible until your baby is able to breathe normally. There are no known long-term effects on your baby’s lungs. Your baby’s health care provider can tell you more about your baby’s situation.


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