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Furosemide for transient tachypnea of the newborn.

BACKGROUND: Transient tachypnea of the newborn results from delayed clearance of lung liquid and is a common cause of admission of full term infants to neonatal intensive care units. The condition is particularly common after elective Caesarean section. Conventional treatment involves appropriate oxygen administration and continuous positive airway pressure in some cases. Most infants receive antibiotic therapy. Hastening the clearance of lung liquid should shorten the duration of the symptoms and reduce complications.

OBJECTIVES: To determine whether furosemide reduces the duration of oxygen therapy and respiratory symptoms and shortens hospital stay in term infants with transient tachypnea of the newborn.

SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, PubMed and EMBASE. The primary author and experts in the field were contacted.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials. Infants of less than 7 days of age, born after 37 or more weeks of gestation with the clinical picture of transient tachypnea of the newborn. Intravenous, oral or nebulized furosemide compared to placebo or no diuretic in the first 7 days.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two reviewers assessed trial quality in each potentially eligible manuscript and two reviewers extracted data.

MAIN RESULTS: Searching revealed only one randomised trial which was methodologically sound. This recruited 50 infants with transient tachypnea. Infants were randomised to receive oral furosemide 2 mg/kg followed by 1 mg/kg 12 hours later, or placebo. Weight loss in the first 24 hours was greater in the furosemide treated group but there was no evidence of a difference between the groups in duration of tachypnea or severity of symptoms or length of hospitalization. The study was methodologically satisfactory.

REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: Oral furosemide cannot be recommended as treatment for transient tachypnea of the newborn and it should not be used unless additional data become available. The question remains as to whether intravenous furosemide given to the infant (or even to the mother before Caesarean section) might shorten the duration of the illness. As elective Caesarean section continues at a high level, these two interventions might be worthy of trials.

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