Diagnosing neonatal respiratory distress syndrome 

A number of tests can be used to look for the signs of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (NRDS) and rule out other possible causes.

These tests may include:

  • a physical examination – to check for the distinctive signs and symptoms of NRDS
  • blood tests – to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood and check for an infection
  • a pulse oximetry test – to measure how much oxygen is being absorbed in the blood, using a sensor attached to the fingertip, ear or toe
  • a chest X-rayto look for the distinctive cloudy appearance of NRDS
  • an echocardiogram – a type of ultrasound scan that is used to create a picture of the inside of the heart

Page last reviewed: 25/02/2013

Next review due: 25/02/2015