Management of Severe Neonatal Respiratory Distress Due to Vertical Transmission of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2

A Case Report

Anne C. Verheijen; Eva E. R. Janssen; Mayke E. van der Putten; Marieke W. P. van Horck; Gijs T. J. van Well; Inge H. M. Van Loo; Matthias C. Hütten; Karen Van Mechelen


J Med Case Reports. 2022;16(140) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Neonates with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection are usually asymptomatic or have mild to moderate symptoms. Acute respiratory distress syndrome due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 with respiratory insufficiency is rare. Therefore, information about the best intensive care strategy for neonates requiring mechanical ventilation is lacking. We report a neonatal case of severe acute respiratory distress syndrome, probably due to vertical transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, complicated by Staphylococcus aureus sepsis. We aim to inform pediatric providers on the clinical course and acute management considerations in coronavirus disease-related neonatal acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Case Presentation: A late preterm (gestational age 36 0/7 weeks) Caucasian girl was born from a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2-positive mother and tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 at 19 hours after birth. She developed acute respiratory distress syndrome requiring intensive care admission and mechanical ventilation. The clinical course was complicated by S. aureus pneumonia and bacteremia. Multimodal management included well-established interventions for respiratory distress syndrome such as surfactant therapy, high-frequency oscillatory ventilation, and inhaled nitric oxide, combined with therapies extrapolated from adult care for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 patients such as dexamethasone, coronavirus disease 2019-specific immunoglobins, and prophylactic low-molecular-weight heparin. The neonate was successfully weaned from the ventilator and improved clinically.

Conclusion: This case shows a rare but serious neonatal severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection, leading to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome. Because of limited therapy guidelines for neonates, we suggest multimodal management with awareness of the possibility of S. aureus coinfection, to treat this age group successful.