Study aims to differentiate between levels of severity in meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) using discharge data

Meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) occurs when a baby passes meconium into the amniotic fluid, and then inhales the meconium into the lungs. This aspiration can happen: 

  • - In utero 
  • - During delivery  
  • - Immediately after birth  


According to Medline Plus, early meconium release can occur when a baby is under stress due to a decrease in blood or oxygen supply. Risk factors can include prolonged labor, high blood pressure or diabetes in the mother among others (MedlinePlus).   


A study published in Early Human Development in September 2019 states that “Meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among term, otherwise healthy newborns”. The aim of the researchers was to compare MAS with symptoms and MAS without symptoms, as these two are placed together in one large group within the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) which can then be misleading.  


Looking at data across over 10,000 cases of documented MAS in the year 2012, the study found some great differences in those who showed respiratory symptoms versus those who did not. Newborns who showed respiratory symptoms were more likely to stay in the hospital longer, their incidence of death was 4 times greater, and the rate of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy was 5 times higher than those showing no symptoms of MAS (Thornton et al, 2019). 


The authors conclude by noting that one blanket code for MAS within the ICD does not appropriately represent the disease severity.  


If your child was diagnosed with meconium aspiration syndrome that you believe was caused by medical negligence, or you believe your child was negligently resuscitated from meconium aspiration syndrome, you may be eligible for compensation. Holton Law Firm's experienced birth injury and medical malpractice lawyers can help you explore your legal options. Call our Memphis law office today to schedule a free initial case consultation. 


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