Pulmonary diagnostics

Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2017 Aug;22(4):200-205. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2017.03.006. Epub 2017 Apr 4.


Term infants with respiratory distress may have extremely varied etiologies of their illnesses. These range from anatomical malformations to infectious or inflammatory conditions to genetic, metabolic, or neurological abnormalities. This article reviews the present array of diagnostic studies available to the clinician, including the physical examination, imaging (radiography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, and nuclear scanning techniques), lung mechanics and function testing, evaluation of gas exchange (blood gases, pulse oximetry, transcutaneous monitoring, and end-tidal carbon monoxide measurements), and anatomical studies (bronchoscopy and lung biopsy). These tests and procedures are reviewed and a stepwise approach recommended.

Keywords: Bronchoscopy; Chest imaging; Gas exchange; Lung biopsy; Lung mechanics and function; Neonatal pulmonary diagnostics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acid-Base Imbalance / diagnosis
  • Acid-Base Imbalance / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal* / trends
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / diagnosis*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / diagnostic imaging
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / mortality
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / physiopathology
  • Respiratory Function Tests / trends
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Insufficiency / etiology