Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn (TTN)

What is the term Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn (TTN)

Transient tachypnea of the newborn occurs when a baby has very rapid breathing for a short time right after birth. It is also called wet lung syndrome. TTN usually goes away when babies are 24–72 hours old.

This condition requires close monitoring in a special care unit or neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Your baby may need oxygen or breathing support during this time. TTN can look similar to other breathing problems, so your baby may have tests done to make sure that he or she gets the proper treatment.

4 Interesting Facts of Transient tachypnea of newborn

  1. Caused by delayed clearance of fetal lung fluid and presents with tachypnea, respiratory distress, and occasionally hypoxia, which gradually develop in the first few hours after birth; symptoms resolve within 1 to 5 days after birth with minimal intervention 
  2. Most common after cesarean delivery and occurs in near-term, term, or late preterm infants 
  3. Chest radiography demonstrates perihilar streaking, patchy infiltrates, increased interstitial markings, fluid in interlobar fissures, and wet silhouette around the heart 
  4. Can be initially difficult to differentiate from meconium aspiration syndrome or neonatal pneumonia; absence of history of meconium-stained amniotic fluid and an overall benign clinical course definitively differentiates it from meconium aspiration syndrome

What are the causes?

The cause of this condition is too much fluid in the lungs.

Inside the womb (uterus), the baby’s lungs are filled with fluid. When a baby is delivered vaginally, hormones are released during labor that help reduce fluid production in the lungs after birth. Some fluid also gets squeezed out of the lungs when the baby passes through the birth canal. Transient tachypnea happens when too much fluid is in the baby’s lungs after birth. This fluid makes it hard for the baby to get enough oxygen.

What increases the risk?

This condition is more likely to develop in babies who are:

  • Delivered surgically through the abdomen without labor (cesarean delivery or C-section).
  • Delivered through the vagina very quickly.
  • Born before 37 weeks of pregnancy (premature).
  • Smaller or larger than expected.
  • Born to mothers who have diabetes or asthma.
  • Male.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Fast breathing, more than 80 breaths per minute (tachypnea).
  • Feeding problems.
  • Grunting or moaning sounds when breathing out.
  • Flaring of the nostrils.
  • Skin that gets sucked in between the ribs or breastbone when breathing in (chest retractions).
  • Bluish color of the skin on the face or lips (cyanosis).

How is this diagnosed?

This condition is diagnosed based on your baby’s symptoms and medical history. Your baby’s health care provider will also do a physical exam. This may include a chest X-ray and other tests, such as:

  • A measurement of how much oxygen is in your baby’s blood (pulse oximetry).
  • Blood tests to rule out other conditions that need different treatment.

How is this treated?

Treatment may include:

  • Oxygen. This may be given for 2–3 days through a face mask or a tube under the nose (nasal cannula).
  • Breathing support. If oxygen treatment by itself is not enough to help your baby breathe easily, your baby may need to:
    • Wear a mask over the nose and mouth that uses air pressure to help with breathing (continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP). This helps keep your baby’s lungs open while fluid is present.
    • Have a tube placed in the nose or into the windpipe (trachea) and connected to a machine that helps with breathing (ventilator).
  • Nutritional support. When a baby is breathing too fast, it is difficult to suck, swallow, and breathe at the same time. There is a risk of inhaling breast milk or formula (aspiration), which can cause more problems. Nutritional support might include:
    • IV fluids and nutrition.
    • A small temporary feeding tube to deliver breast milk or formula until breathing gets easier. A feeding tube is inserted through the nose or mouth and down into the stomach.
  • Monitoring blood sugar (glucose) levels.

Follow these instructions at home:

Once TTN resolves, your baby should not have any more breathing problems at home due to TTN. However, it is always important to promote habits that will help keep your baby’s lungs healthy, such as:

  • Keeping your baby away from secondhand smoke.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water, and asking visitors to also wash their hands often.

Get help right away if your baby has:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Skin or lips that turn a bluish color.
  • A temperature of 100°F (38°C) or higher.


  • Transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN) occurs when a baby has very rapid breathing right after birth. Your baby may need oxygen or breathing support during this time.
  • Your baby may also need nutritional support such as IV fluids and a feeding tube.
  • TTN usually goes away within a few days without any long-term effects.

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