Elevated airway liquid volumes at birth: a potential cause of transient tachypnea of the newborn

Lead researcher

Dr Erin McGillick

Main finding

Excessive liquid in airways and/or in distal lung tissue may underpin the respiratory morbidity associated with transient tachypnea of the newborn (TTN). However, its effects on lung aeration and respiratory function following birth are unknown. Using synchrotron based X-ray imaging we investigated the effect of elevated airway liquid volumes at birth on newborn respiratory function. We provide the first physiological evidence demonstrating adverse effects of elevated airway liquid volumes on lung mechanics and respiratory function in the immediate newborn period. We speculate that elevated airway liquid volumes may underlie the initial morbidity in near term babies with TTN after birth.


The Ritchie Centre

Research group

Fetal and Neonatal Health


Katie Lee, Shigeo Yamaoka, Arjan te Pas, Kelly Crossley, Megan Wallace, Marcus Kitchen, Robert Lewis, Lauren Kerr, Philip Dekoninck, Janneke Dekker, Marta Thio, Annie McDougall, Stuart Hooper

Journal and article title

Most surprising

Elevated airway liquid volumes have implications on both respiratory structure and function in the immediate newborn period.

Future implications

This work highlights the potential importance of targeting mechanisms to not only assist clearance of liquid but prevent its re-entry into the lung at end-expiration to improve outcomes in newborns with TTN.

Disease/health impact

Newborn respiratory function

Dr Erin McGillick from the Fetal and Neonatal Health Research Group at Hudson Institute