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Respiratory Distress Syndrome – Lung Development

by John McLachlan, PhD
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    00:00 Now, the difficulty arises if a child is born prematurely. This can give rise to the condition known as respiratory distress syndrome. What’s happening here is that the lungs are not sufficiently well developed to support respiration on their own. At this stage of development of the lungs is the primary determining factor in whether the baby will survive or not. As we indicated, between 26 weeks and birth, there is a respectable chance of survival even in premature babies, as the lungs are sufficiently differentiated and there are adequate amounts of surfactant present. If not, then chances of survival may be poorer, and there may be significant negative consequences such as brain damage arising from birth in these very early periods.

    00:53 So, for example, a child born at 23 weeks would clinically show laboured breathing if breathing was possible at all, and threatening the child with immediate asphyxiation.

    01:04 The breathing rate would also be increased and as a consequence, it might be necessary to have mechanical ventilation to support the baby’s breathing. But this in turn can damage the alveolar lining, and what happens is that fluid in proteins will actually leak into the alveolus. And if this process continues, then the alveolar lining itself may detach and the baby will be unable to transfer blood across the blood-air barrier. This chronic lung injury in premature infants can cause this bronchopulmonary dysplasia as a consequence.

    01:45 There may be some actions that we can take. It’s possible that glucocorticoid treatment can accelerate the foetal lung development and assist in the production of surfactant.

    01:56 And it may be possible to add artificial surfactant, and this is effective if added with additional proteins which mimics the natural proteins as closely as possible There is, in fact, a surfactant B deficiency disease, which is a fatal genetic disease, an autosomal recessive, which is, therefore, hereditary, and this would cause serious problems to a baby even born closer to term. Now, let’s look at some common abnormalities of lung development


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Respiratory Distress Syndrome – Lung Development by John McLachlan, PhD is from the course System-Specific Embryology with John McLachlan.


    Author of lecture Respiratory Distress Syndrome – Lung Development

     John McLachlan, PhD

    John McLachlan, PhD


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