Common Causes of Neonatal Respiratory Arrest and Emergencies [ 0 Comments ] [ April 19, 2017 ]

NRP classes San Diego - respiratory emergencies

Common Causes of Neonatal Respiratory Arrest and Emergencies

All infants are fragile, and premature ones even more so. The delivery room and the neonatal unit can be full of stress, both for the medical staff and the tiny beings just brought into the world. Respiratory problems are commonly part of that stress. Because pulmonary and cardiopulmonary emergencies are not just life-threatening for babies, but can also have severe permanent health consequences, all medical staff working with neonates would do well to pass Neonatal Resuscitation Program. Advanced Healthcare Education offers AHA-approved NRP classes San Diego in five locations.

What serious respiratory problems are most common in neonates?

Apnea is when a person stops breathing. Sometimes, perfectly healthy babies can have apnea during sleep and this phenomenon can continue well into childhood. Apnea that raises red flags is the one that lasts longer than 20 seconds. However, if the baby stops breathing for longer than 20 seconds, their condition is referred to as respiratory arrest. Respiratory arrest demands immediate action because it can easily lead to a cardiac arrest in babies and children. In contrast, when it comes to adults, it’s more common for cardiac arrest to precede respiratory arrest.

Neonates who have had life-threatening apnea will probably have bradycardia as well. Bradycardia denotes heart rate that is too low. There is no unambiguous definition of what low heart rate is since there are multiple factors. Newborns’ heart rate is faster than an adult’s, and slowly drops with age. Premature babies typically have a faster rate than full-term babies. So, it could be said that bradycardia is when a premature or a full-term baby have a heart rate lower than 120 and 80 respectively.

Respiratory distress syndrome is the most wide-spread lung issue with premature babies. A baby with this syndrome cannot expand its lungs because the air sacs in the lungs deflate. Fetal lungs start producing a substance called surfactant around the 30th week of gestation, so that when the baby is born its lungs can expand, taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. Hence, the lungs of babies born before 30th week of gestation don’t have enough of this “lung lubricant”.

Pneumonia is a virus- or bacteria-caused inflammation of the lungs, which babies can contract even while in the womb.

What causes these respiratory issues and emergencies?

Apnea is very common in premature babies. This has been put down to the underdeveloped brain of these babies at the moment of birth. With an immature respiratory center in the brain, these babies can kind of “forget” to breathe. The more premature the baby is, the higher probability of apnea of prematurity is.

However, apnea of prematurity can also be brought on by an infection, obstructed airways (including mucus), low blood sugar and low blood oxygen. Sometimes, a premature baby can have apnea because they are too hot, too cold or because overstimulation stresses them. Some neurological problems could also be the cause. Of course, full-term babies can also experience this kind of severe apnea for the same reasons, but with lower incidence.

Respiratory distress syndrome is mostly caused by premature birth, like we said. It’s quite uncommon in babies born between 37 – 40 weeks. Some other factors include: Cesarean or induced labor before full gestation, problems in the delivery that interfere with the blood flow to the baby, rapid delivery, gestational diabetes, older siblings who also had RDS and also twin pregnancies.

Thinking of taking NRP exam?

If you are a healthcare professional in San Diego working with neonates, it would make career sense for you to take NRP classes in San Diego. Advanced Healthcare Education is a leading local provider of AHA-approved NRP courses, as well as other courses like ACLS, BLS and PALS. Call us today at (888) 825 2550 for more information.