What is naturally occurring surfactant?

Naturally-occurring surfactant develops in a baby's lungs in the womb. It helps a baby breathe outside of the womb by preventing the air sacs in the lungs from collapsing. When a baby is born prematurely, especially before 28 weeks of fetal development, the surfactant may not be fully developed. A baby with this problem has what is called neonatal respiratory distress syndrome. In this case, artificial surfactant can be administered to help the baby breathe. Artificial surfactant is administered through surfactant replacement therapy. In this treatment option, an endotracheal tube is placed down the baby's throat and a surfactant, like Survanta, is administered through the tube. This way, the baby can make up for lost development and begin breathing on its own. Survanta is a surfactant with the main ingredient beractant. It helps prevent the collapsing of the lungs by reducing surface tensions in lung fluids.

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