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Some premature babies struggle to breathe and turn blue because their lungs are not fully developed and they can’t get enough oxygen. It’s a potentially fatal condition called respiratory distress syndrome. Infants with the most severe cases often die before they are a week old.
They don’t have enough of a protective substance called surfactant that allows their lungs to inflate properly. Premature babies who receive surfactant replacement therapy such as Survanta® at birth have an increased chance of survival.
To help premature infants with respiratory distress syndrome, AmeriCares recently delivered more than $1 million worth of Survanta® generously donated by Abbott to hospitals in Armenia, Eritrea, Guyana, Jamaica, Lebanon, Paraguay, Romania and Sri Lanka.
In Kosovo, where AmeriCares has been delivering Survanta® to neonatal intensive care units since 2006, two-thirds of the 108 babies who received the treatment in 2008 survived.
“Survanta® prevents the air sacs in the lungs from collapsing when the baby exhales, allowing more oxygen to flow to vital organs,” said AmeriCares Medical Director Dr. Frank Bia. “This is a truly lifesaving biological product that saves the smallest and most fragile patients.”