Publication Date

Spring 4-12-2016


School of Nursing


Nursing (B.S.N.)


exogenous surfactant, respiratory distress syndrome, RDS in the neonate, alveoli, surfactant deficiency, pathophysiology of RDS, nCPAP


Maternal, Child Health and Neonatal Nursing | Other Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Pharmaceutical Preparations | Respiratory System


Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is a common consequence of pulmonary immaturity in the lungs of neonates. RDS is the result of the deficient secretion of endogenous surfactant, causing increased surface tension in the alveolar sacs leading to respiratory compromise. RDS is more common in the preterm neonate but can be experienced by neonates at any gestational age. Treatment for RDS formerly consisted of mechanical ventilation and oxygen therapy to treat and relieve symptoms but not the cause. A new treatment method, developed largely in the 1980s and 90s is the use of exogenous surfactant to treat the deficiency exhibited in RDS. The administration of exogenous (natural or artificial) surfactant has been shown to greatly decrease the rate of respiratory failure in neonates experiencing respiratory distress and has greatly increased their survival rate. The current use of exogenous surfactant in neonates with RDS has greatly reduced the morbidity and mortality rates of neonates suffering from this disease