Lung Maturity Test Can Determine Which Premature Infants are at risk of RDS Interview with:

Prof. Henrik Verder Department of Pediatrics Holbaek University Hospital Denmark

Prof. Henrik Verder

Prof. Henrik Verder
Department of Pediatrics
Holbaek University Hospital
Denmark What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS) is a major cause of mortality and morbidity in premature infants. It can be effectively treated with surfactant, a therapy which reduces the effort needed to expand the lungs during inspiration and allow gas exchange to take place. Early surfactant treatment can help prevent the onset and impact of RDS, however, prophylactic treatment has been shown to be harmful and only necessary in half of all pre-term infants. This study provided data validating the efficacy of a lung maturity test (LMT) in identifying infants at risk of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) who could benefit from early surfactant treatment. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Development of a rapid LMT could allow screening of all pre-term infants for Respiratory Distress Syndrome risk. Then only those infants at risk would be treated. The need for such a test has been highlighted in the recently published European Consensus Guidelines on the Management of RDS ([1] Sweet D, G, Carnielli V, Greisen G, Hallman M, Ozek E, Plavka R, Saugstad O, D, Simeoni U, Speer C, P, Vento M, Visser G, H, A, Halliday H, L, European Consensus Guidelines on the Management of Respiratory Distress Syndrome – 2016 Update. Neonatology 2017;111:107-125) What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: The test has been scientifically validated and has shown significant clinical promise. The next steps are to refine the test further to ensure that the results are consistent, stable and accurate in a clinical setting when carried out by users. Once this has been demonstrated a clinical interventional trial will be conducted. This trial will examine the impact of the test on outcomes, for example does using the test when making treatment decisions reduce incidence and severity of respiratory distress syndrome, time in hospital and time on mechanical ventilation? There is strong clinical evidence that early treatment with surfactant, as opposed to late treatment (also called ‘rescue surfactant treatment’ in the US), will significantly better outcomes. Therefore, we believe that the LMT test has the potential to significantly improve outcomes. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The sample used for the  lung maturity test test is a stomach fluid called gastric aspirate. Extraction of gastric aspirate is part of the routine clearing of airways at birth and the sample collected is usually discarded as medical waste. Once collected the gastric aspirate will be placed into a small and simple to use diagnostic device in the ward. The results will be displayed and printed minutes later. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Rapid determination of lung maturity in premature infants at birth by mid-infrared spectroscopy

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on

[wysija_form id=”5″]

Last Updated on December 5, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD