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Alternate Therapies for Infants With Respiratory Distress Syndrome

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Alternate Therapies for Infants With Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Premature babies may suffer from respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) when their lungs can’t breathe air. It is a serious condition and often requires the use of a ventilator, or other medical interventions to help the baby breathe. RDS also leads to other health complications.

Preterm infants born before the 28th week of pregnancy are particularly vulnerable to RDS and may require a breathing machine for assistance during delivery. In some cases, these babies can be treated prior to delivery; however, in others it may not be possible.

Corticosteroids administered between 24 and 34 weeks of gestation can reduce the likelihood of RDS, as well as lessen its severity.

The primary aim of RDS treatment is to alleviate symptoms and keep the lungs open so that babies can breathe easier. Alternative therapies include using specialized oxygen and mechanical ventilation in order to assist with this process.

Antenatal steroid prophylaxis has been shown to reduce the incidence of RDS (repeated delayed speech) among very low birth weight babies. The mother takes the steroid early in pregnancy, which helps her body make more surfactant and may help develop her lungs so they are ready to breathe on their own.

In addition to preventing RDS, alternative therapies can also be used to treat infants who already have it. According to one study, giving surfactant to newborns with mild cases of RDS before delivery reduced their odds for pneumothorax and severe grades of intraventricular hemorrhage as well as postnatal corticosteroid use.

Natural surfactants are preferred to synthetic ones for treating RDS. They come in liquid or powder form and can be dissolved into the fluid that is inhaled. Studies have been done to examine how they impact the immune system and whether or not they can improve outcomes for infants with RDS.

Noninvasive surfactant administration methods, such as thin catheters, laryngeal mask airways, pharyngeal routes and nebulization, offer a safer alternative to intubation and mechanical ventilation. Not only are they less invasive but don’t need sedation either – minimizing airway injury while allowing spontaneous use.

Surfactant therapy, also known as minimally invasive surfactant therapy, is an innovative treatment option for infants with RDS. The process involves inserting a small tube into the trachea through direct laryngoscopy and administering surfactant through it. Table 1 details the cytokine and chemokine responses to various protocols of surfactant administration.

A randomized, controlled trial compared the INSURE strategy [Intubate-SURfactant-Extubate to nasal continuous positive airway pressure] with CPAP in the delivery room for premature infants with RDS. The researchers concluded that INSURE was more successful than CPAP at decreasing the number of infants needing mechanical ventilation and surfactant administration.

Researchers also observed that the treatment was safe and had a beneficial effect on chemokine and cytokine responses in blood, although this wasn’t a reliable method for comparing the effectiveness of different surfactant administration regimens.

Other alternative therapies for infants with RDS have not proven to be as successful or widespread, and haven’t been proven by clinical trials. However, they may still be beneficial in communities with limited resources or access to medical care.

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