J Korean Med Assoc.  2015 Apr;58(4):330-335. 10.5124/jkma.2015.58.4.330.

The use of artificial pulmonary surfactant in neonatal respiratory distress

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. feelhope@khu.ac.kr


Pulmonary surfactant instillation is the treatment of choice in neonatal respiratory distress syndrome. The development of artificial surfactant has three decades of history. Animal-derived artificial surfactant is used in most countries and consists of 80% phospholipids and glycerol. 10% of the formulation is comprised of surfactant proteins, which have the critical role in surfactant function of lowering surface tension in the alveoli. Synthetic surfactants are made using synthetic peptide analogues as the surfactant protein counterparts. These are not the same as the human surfactant protein sequences; however, researchers are attempting to find the ideal synthetic peptide sequence for use in synthetic surfactants. Prophylactic and rescue surfactant therapy are two main therapeutic options. A recent recommendation emphasizes the importance of rescue therapy with continuous positive nasal airway pressure, rather than prophylactic use immediate after birth. This article briefly reviews the history and physiology of surfactant use, as well as clinical practice of surfactant and future studies.


Pulmonary surfactants; Respiratory distress syndrome, newborn
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