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Lecithin-sphingomyelin ratio: Wikis

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The lecithin-sphingomyelin ratio is a test for assessing fetal lung maturity.[1][2] Lungs require surfactant, a soapy sort of substance, to lower the surface pressure of the alveoli in the lungs. This is especially important for premature babies trying to expand their lungs for that critical first breath after birth. Surfactant is a mixture of lipids, proteins, and glycoproteins. Lecithin and sphingomyelin being two of them. Lecithin makes the surfactant mixture more effective.

Contents

Evaluation

An L/S ratio of 2 or more indicates a relatively low risk of infant respiratory distress syndrome, and an L/S ratio of less than 1.5 is associated with a high risk of infant respiratory distress syndrome.

If preterm delivery is necessary (as evaluated by a biophysical profile or other tests) and the L/S ratio is low, the mother may need to receive steroids to hasten the fetus's surfactant production.

Procedure

An amniotic fluid sample is collected via amniocentesis and the sample is spun down in a centrifuge at 1000 rpm for 3 to 5 minutes. Thin layer chromatography is performed on the supernatant, which separates out the components. Lecithin and sphingomyelin are relatively easy to identify on TLC and the predictive value of the test is good.[3]

See also

References

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