Prevention of meconium aspiration syndrome: an update and the Baylor experience

Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2009 Apr;22(2):128-31. doi: 10.1080/08998280.2009.11928491.


The approach to preventing meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) in the newborn has changed markedly over the last 30 years. In the late 1970s, all infants born through meconium-stained amniotic fluid (MSAf) had upper-airway suctioning before delivery of the shoulders and then had tracheal intubation and suctioning in the delivery room. Now suctioning of the upper airway is no longer recommended, and only "depressed" infants are intubated for tracheal suctioning. The incidence of MAS and the associated high mortality rate have both declined significantly over time. This is due to improved antepartum and intrapartum obstetrical management as well as the postdelivery resuscitation of the neonate born through MSAf. MAS is no longer considered to be solely a postnatal disorder that is preventable with routine delivery room suctioning of the trachea; rather, it is considered a complex and multifactorial disorder with antenatal as well as intrapartum factors. The incidence and severity of MAS have been positively affected by a combined obstetrical and neonatal approach to the infant born through MSAf. In this article, we detail our experience at Baylor University Medical Center with MAS and its prevention and review the current literature.