, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 591–611 | Cite as

Exogenous Surfactant Treatments for Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome and their Potential Role in the Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome

  • T. Allen Merritt
  • Mikko Hallman
  • Roger Spragg
  • Gregory P. Heldt
  • Nicholas Gilliard
Review Article


Exogenous surfactant therapy has been recognised as an approach to alleviating the surfactant-deficient state for 3 decades. Natural and lipid-extracted surfactants derived from amniotic fluid, lung lavage, or lung homogenates are being used in worldwide clinical trials in premature infants. These studies are demonstrating a generally favourable influence on lung function by improving oxygénation and reducing the risk for pneumothorax and pulmonary interstitial emphysema. In some studies, reduction in death and the occurrence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia have been found. Numerous questions are unresolved and pharmacokinetic data are limited in preterm infants. Artificial surfactants are similarly under evaluation but current data demonstrate less overall effect.

Adult respiratory distress syndrome has also been treated with exogenous surfactants. Although complex in terms of multiple initiating factors and in terms of high permeability of surfactant inhibitors, further studies are under way to determine the ideal methods of administration to enhance distribution and to monitor surfactant function in vivo.


Respiratory Distress Syndrome DPPC Hyaline Membrane Disease Surfactant Therapy Exogenous Surfactant 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© ADIS Press Limited 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Allen Merritt
    • 1
  • Mikko Hallman
    • 2
  • Roger Spragg
    • 3
  • Gregory P. Heldt
    • 1
  • Nicholas Gilliard
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUGSD School of MedicineSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsUniversity of Helsinki, Children’s HospitalHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Department of MedicineUCSD School of MedicineSan DiegoUSA

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