Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is abnormal development of the lungs in infants. It is considered a chronic lung disease. BPD can make it difficult for the infant to breathe. The condition usually develops in the first 4 weeks after birth.
|Infant Airway and Lungs|
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The exact cause of BPD is unknown. It is most often associated with complication of early lung disease or their treatments. These conditions or treatments can cause irritation and swelling of lungs and airways. This can lead to BPD.
Factors that increase your infant’s risk of developing BPD include:
- Any severe illness requiring oxygen therapy and/or the use of a ventilator for an extended time
- Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)—a lung disorder often affecting premature babies that causes difficulty with breathing
- Collapsed lung
- Premature birth
- Immature lungs
- High blood pressure
- Congenital heart diseases that cause excess blood flow through the lungs such as patent ductus arteriosus
- Subglottic stenosis
Symptoms may include:
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Difficulty breathing
- Retractions—with each breath, the chest appears to sink in between the ribs or under the ribcage
- See-saw breathing–movement of the chest and stomach in opposite directions with each breath
- Wheezing or noisy breathing
- Raising or stretching the neck to push more air into the lungs
- Poor posture of the trunk, shoulders, and neck
- Bluish color to the skin
Your infant’s medical history will be taken. A physical exam will be done.
Your infant’s bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with blood tests.
Your infant’s lung function may be tested. This can be done with pulse oximetry monitoring.
Images may be taken of your infants bodily structures. This can be done with:
- Chest x-ray
- Chest CT scan
There is no specific treatment for BPD. The main focus is to treat any symptoms. If needed, treatment may include support for the infant’s breathing. This will help the infant get strong and allow the lungs to mature.
An extended hospital stay may be needed. Treatment options include the following:
There are no set guidelines for preventing BPD. However, there are some things you can do to decrease the risk of a premature birth and ensure you will give birth to a healthy infant such as:
- Eat a healthful diet. Choose foods low in saturated fat and rich in low-fat dairy. Choose lean protein sources. Include plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in your diet.
- Have early and regular prenatal check-ups.
- Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quit.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol.