Neonatal hyaline-membrane disease is complicated by pulmonary edema, yet left atrial pressures are normal. Alveolar-capillary-membrane permeability may therefore be increased. To assess pulmonary epithelial permeability, we measured the pulmonary clearance and half-life of aerosolized 99mTc-diethylenetriamine pentacetate (99mTc-DTPA) on 31 occasions in 15 intubated premature infants with hyaline-membrane disease. Three infants with respiratory failure due to other diseases were studied on four occasions. All studies of infants with hyaline-membrane disease that were performed in the first 72 hours of life demonstrated a biphasic clearance curve with a rapid-phase half-life of 1.6 +/- 0.6 minutes (mean +/- S.D.). As these infants recovered, the curve became monophasic with a half-life of 56.0 +/- 32.1 minutes. Two infants remained dependent on oxygen and ventilator support and had persistent biphasic curves with a rapid-phase half-life of 1.5 +/- 0.7 minutes. All infants without hyaline-membrane disease had monophasic curves with a half-life of 65.4 +/- 33.6 minutes. Using a similar technique, we observed that newborn lambs and piglets have a monophasic pulmonary clearance of 99mTc-DTPA (114 +/- 59 minutes in lambs and 52.5 +/- 16.3 minutes in piglets). We conclude that the lungs of neonates with hyaline-membrane disease are abnormally permeable to small solutes and that this abnormality persists in infants with subsequent chronic lung disease.
View details for Web of Science ID A1984TP17700003
View details for PubMedID 6384782