Testing & Diagnosis for Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome (Hyaline Membrane Disease) in Children

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How is HMD diagnosed?

HMD is usually diagnosed by a combination of assessments, including:

  • appearance, color and breathing efforts (these signs indicate your baby's need for oxygen)
  • x-rays of lungs – x-rays are electromagnetic energy used to produce images of bones and internal organs onto film. In HMD, they often show a unique “ground glass” appearance called a reticulogranular pattern.
  • blood gases (tests for oxygen, carbon dioxide and acid in arterial blood) - often show lowered amounts of oxygen and increased carbon dioxide.
  • echocardiography (EKG) – may be used to rule out heart problems that could cause symptoms similar to HMD. An electrocardiogram is a test that records the electrical activity of the heart, shows arrhythmias (abnormal rhythms) and detects damage to the heart muscle.
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