Aspiration of Meconium

Chest | Paediatrics | Aspiration of Meconium (Disease)


Meconium aspiration syndrome also known as Neonatal aspiration of meconium) is a medical disorder affecting newborn infants. It develops when in a baby’s lungs exist meconium, during or before delivery.

Meconium is the first stool of an infant, composed of materials ingested during the time the infant spends in the uterus. The primary factor that differentiates it from stool is that meconium is sterile and does not contain bacteria. Intrauterine distress can cause passage into the amniotic fluid.

Causes and Risk factors

Factors that promote the passage in utero include placental insufficiency, maternal hypertension, preeclampsia, oligohydramnios, and maternal drug abuse, especially of tobacco and cocaine. The most obvious sign that meconium has been passed during or before labor is the greenish or yellowish appearance of the amniotic fluid. The infants skin, umbilical cord, or nailbeds may be stained green if the meconium was passed a considerable amount of time before birth.

Diagnosis and Treatment

After birth, rapid or labored breathing, cyanosis, slow heartbeat, a barrel-shaped chest or low Apgar score are all signs of the syndrome. Current recommendations say that if an infant has inhaled meconium but looks active, appears well, and has a strong heartbeat (>100 bpm), the delivery team can watch the baby for MAS symptoms, which typically appear within the first 24 hours. For an infant that has inhaled meconium and shows signs of poor activity level, has a lower heart rate (<100 bpm), is limp, and has poor muscle tone, the goal is to clear the airway as much as possible to decrease the amount of meconium thats aspirated. ...

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