Neonatology pp 441-454 | Cite as

Respiratory Distress Syndrome: Predisposing Factors, Pathophysiology and Diagnosis

  • Mikko Hallman
  • Timo Saarela


Respiratory distress syndrome of newborn infants (RDS), called infantile RDS or IRDS, previously idiopathic RDS or hyaline membrane disease (HMD), is the most common serious disease affecting the newborn. Since the first description of hyaline membranes by Hochheim in 1903, a number of speculations and theories flourished concerning the primary cause [1]. During the past 40 years the advances in neonatal intensive care have been based on the understanding of molecular, structural and functional lung development, the knowledge of the cardiorespiratory adaptation in premature infants, the pathophysiology of RDS, molecular biology, pharmacodynamics and technological applications. As a result of the successful marriage between clinical investigation, applied and basic sciences, the mortality of RDS has dropped from about 50% to close to 5%. The infants affected by RDS are considerably more immature since previously many immature infants died before they developed HMD.


Respiratory Distress Syndrome Preterm Birth Amniotic Fluid Patent Ductus Arteriosus Fetal Lung 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mikko Hallman
    • 1
  • Timo Saarela
  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Institute of Clinical MedicineUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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