Transient tachypnea – newborn

Alternative Names

TTN; Wet lungs – newborns; Retained fetal lung fluid; Transient RDS

Definition of Transient tachypnea – newborn

Transient tachypnea is a respiratory disorder usually seen shortly after delivery in full- or near-term babies.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

As the baby grows in the womb, the lungs make a special fluid. This fluid fills the developing baby’s lungs and helps them grow. When the baby is born at term, chemicals released during labor tell the lungs to stop making this special fluid. The baby’s lungs start removing or reabsorbing it.


Newborns with transient tachypnea have respiratory problems soon after birth, usually within 1 – 2 hours.

Signs and tests

The mother’s pregnancy and labor history are important to make the diagnosis.


Your baby will be given oxygen as needed to maintain an adequate blood oxygen level. Your baby’s oxygen requirement will usually be highest within a few hours after birth and then begin to decrease. Most infants with transient tachypnea improve in less than 12 – 24 hours.

Expectations (prognosis)

The condition usually goes away completely within 24 – 48 hours after delivery. Babies who have had transient tachypnea usually have no further problems associated with the condition, and do not need special care or follow-up other than their routine pediatrician visits.


Kimberly G Lee, MD, MSc, IBCLC, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 12/18/2009

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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