What is transient tachypnea of the newborn?
Transient tachypnea [tak-ip-nee-ah] of the newborn,
or TTN, is temporary fast breathing. It is sometimes
called “wet lungs.”
What causes TTN?
TTN is caused by leftover fluid in the lungs.
Before birth, a baby’s lungs are filled with
fluid that helps them grow and develop.
During labor and delivery, most of the fluid
goes away. After birth, breathing air helps
remove the remaining fluid.
In some babies, the fluid clears more slowly.
The leftover fluid makes it harder for the
baby to breathe, so the baby breathes faster
(tachypnea) and less deeply. As soon as the
fluid is gone, the baby can breathe normally
(so the condition is transient, or temporary).
Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn
What are the symptoms of TTN?
There are several symptoms of TTN. Your
baby may not have all of them.
• Rapid breathing
• Flaring of the nostrils when breathing in
• Sharp pulling in of the chest muscles
during breathing (retraction)
• Bluish skin color (cyanosis) around the
nose and mouth
How common is TTN?
TTN affects between 1 and 9 out of every 1000 babies born. It is more common in babies
who were delivered by C-section, especially if labor never started, and in babies born between
34 and 37 weeks’ gestation.
How is TTN diagnosed?
The symptoms of TTN are very similar to several other
breathing problems. The health care team may run tests
to rule out these more serious problems. Tests may include:
• Chest X-rays to look for fluid in the lungs
• Blood tests to look for infection
• Constant monitoring of the baby’s oxygen level, breathing
rate, and heart rate
The diagnosis of TTN is often made after ruling out other causes
What treatment will my baby receive?
Treatments for TTN depend on how much help your baby needs to
breathe until the symptoms go away. Possible treatments include:
• Extra oxygen – given by:
– Nasal cannula (nose tube) or mask
– CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) – a treatment that
uses mild pressurized air to keep the lungs open
– Mechanical ventilator (in rare cases) – a machine that helps your
baby breathe using a tube. The tube goes through the baby’s nose
or mouth and into their throat
• Help feeding – rapid breathing can make feeding hard.
Your baby may be given fluid and nutrients through an IV
or a feeding tube until breathing is easier.
• Antibiotics – until infection can be ruled out
What will happen next?
TTN usually goes away on its own within a few days of birth. In most
cases, there are no long-term problems due to TTN. Talk
to your health care team. They can answer any questions you have
about your baby.
Antibiotics – medicines that fight
infections caused by bacteria
CPAP (continuous positive
airway pressure) – a treatment
that uses mild, pressurized air to
keep the lungs open
Cyanosis – bluish color of the skin
Intravenous (IV) – through a vein
Mechanical ventilator – a machine
that helps your baby breathe by
moving air in and out of the lungs
Nasal cannula – tube in the nose
Retraction – sharp pulling in of the
chest muscles during breathing
Tachypnea – fast breathing