Fetal lung maturity testing: The end of an era

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Respiratory distress syndrome is a major cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality that is most commonly caused by a deficiency in lung surfactant in premature infants. Therefore, laboratory tests were developed to measure the presence and/or concentration of lung surfactant in amniotic fluid in order to estimate maturity of the fetal lung. Although these tests were once widely employed, their utilization by physicians has decreased in recent years. Several studies have shown that demonstration of a mature fetal lung index by antenatal testing does not improve neonatal outcomes. Instead, decreased respiratory and nonrespiratory morbidities are most highly correlated with gestational age of the fetus. Therefore, fetal lung maturity testing may have passed the point of being clinically useful.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-515
Number of pages7
JournalBiomarkers in Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • amniotic fluid
  • fetal lung maturity testing
  • lamellar body count
  • respiratory distress syndrome
  • surfactant


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