Medication used to help infants who have or are at high risk for having respiratory distress syndrome. Surfactant is a soapy material found inside the lungs of adults and mature infants. It helps the lungs to function. Without surfactant, the air sacs tend to collapse when the child breathes out. The production of surfactant in the lungs often does not mature until 34-36 weeks of gestation. Premature infants often don’t produce enough surfactant, which causes them to have significant breathing problems.
Surfactant taken from calves, pigs or human amniotic fluid has been shown to be safe and effective in treating respiratory distress. Several different preparations are available throughout the world.