If your baby has been diagnosed with acute respiratory distress syndrome, you may wish to go over these additional five questions with your pediatrician:
1. Besides the chest X-ray my baby has gone through, are there any other diagnostic tests he or she will be expected to take?
Diagnosis for respiratory distress syndrome (or hyaline membrane disease) is arrived at by running a combination of evaluations of test results.
• A chest X-ray is the first line of assessment. It exhibits the glass-like appearance of the membrane in a reticulo-granular pattern.
• A physical examination to see the appearance, breathing and color of the baby.
• EKG or an echocardiography recording the electrical signals of the heart showing any abnormal beats and rhythms may help with the differential diagnosis.
• Blood gas analysis which will indicate the amount of decreased oxygen, increased carbon dioxide and acid in arterial blood.
• Mother’s medical history especially with respect to diabetes and preterm labor.
2. What line of treatment will you give my baby?
That depends from case to case, the baby’s health, condition, etc. There are a number of effective treatment options available though. It must be kept in mind that doctors decide on the line of treatment depending on a number of factors specific to your case, such as weight, health, gestational age of the baby, baby’s tolerance to medications and treatments, mother’s medical history, other doctors' and your (parent’s) opinions.
• Continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) – The CPAP is a mechanical breathing device that does the breathing for the baby whereby oxygen is delivered in a small amount of pressure through tubes that go into the nostrils of the baby. It automatically pushes oxygen-filled air continuously to the airways of the infant so that his/her bronchioles, etc., remain open and do not collapse or close.
• An endotracheal tube is sometimes used in the case the situation becomes worse. An external mechanical device is inserted into the trachea or windpipe of the baby to give intermittent breaths.