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Int J Pediatr. 2012;2012:965159. doi: 10.1155/2012/965159. Epub 2012 Feb 23.

Respiratory support in meconium aspiration syndrome: a practical guide.

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Department of Paediatrics, Royal Hobart Hospital and University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS 7000, Australia.


Meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) is a complex respiratory disease of the term and near-term neonate. Inhalation of meconium causes airway obstruction, atelectasis, epithelial injury, surfactant inhibition, and pulmonary hypertension, the chief clinical manifestations of which are hypoxaemia and poor lung compliance. Supplemental oxygen is the mainstay of therapy for MAS, with around one-third of infants requiring intubation and mechanical ventilation. For those ventilated, high ventilator pressures, as well as a relatively long inspiratory time and slow ventilator rate, may be necessary to achieve adequate oxygenation. High-frequency ventilation may offer a benefit in infants with refractory hypoxaemia and/or gas trapping. Inhaled nitric oxide is effective in those with pulmonary hypertension, and other adjunctive therapies, including surfactant administration and lung lavage, should be considered in selected cases. With judicious use of available modes of ventilation and adjunctive therapies, infants with even the most severe MAS can usually be supported through the disease, with an acceptably low risk of short- and long-term morbidities.

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