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  • Infant respiratory distress syndrome, also called neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, respiratory distress syndrome of newborn, or increasingly surfactant deficiency disorder, and previously called hyaline membrane disease, is a syndrome in premature infants caused by developmental insufficiency of surfactant production and structural immaturity in the lungs. It can also result from a genetic problem with the production of surfactant associated proteins. IRDS affects about 1% of newborn infants and is the leading cause of death in preterm infants. The incidence decreases with advancing gestational age, from about 50% in babies born at 26–28 weeks, to about 25% at 30–31 weeks. The syndrome is more frequent in infants of diabetic mothers and in the second born of premature twins. IRDS is distinct from pulmonary hypoplasia, another leading cause of neonatal death that involves respiratory distress.

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