The lungs of newborn infants, particularly those who are premature or born to diabetic mothers, frequently contain membranes of eosinophilic material, which line the distal respiratory passages and are almost always associated with extensive atelectasis. They are found in an estimated 20%-40% of liveborn infants who die in the first few days of life. They may be found, furthermore, in as much as 70% of those early neonatal deaths in which no other major abnormality is encountered. These membranes and the atelectasis that accompanies them are the most commonly found abnormality in early neonatal death.
The last decade has been one of intensive investigation and study of pulmonary hyaline membranes and their associated phenomena in the newborn. They are no longer merely a pathologic entity to be recognized on postmortem examination. Their clinical and radiologic features have been clarified, and the resultant syndrome is now the concern of the cardiac
GREGG RH, BERNSTEIN J. Pulmonary Hyaline Membranes and the Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Am J Dis Child. 1961;102(6):871-890. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1961.02080010873011