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Pediatrics. 2008 Feb;121(2):419-32. doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-3283.

Surfactant-replacement therapy for respiratory distress in the preterm and term neonate.


Respiratory failure secondary to surfactant deficiency is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in preterm infants. Surfactant therapy substantially reduces mortality and respiratory morbidity for this population. Secondary surfactant deficiency also contributes to acute respiratory morbidity in late-preterm and term neonates with meconium aspiration syndrome, pneumonia/sepsis, and perhaps pulmonary hemorrhage; surfactant replacement may be beneficial for these infants. This statement summarizes indications, administration, formulations, and outcomes for surfactant-replacement therapy. The impact of antenatal steroids and continuous positive airway pressure on outcomes and surfactant use in preterm infants is reviewed. Because respiratory insufficiency may be a component of multiorgan dysfunction, preterm and term infants receiving surfactant-replacement therapy should be managed in facilities with technical and clinical expertise to administer surfactant and provide multisystem support.

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