Chronic Lung Disease of Prematurity
What causes chronic lung disease?
Lung injury and scarring, which may result in difficulty breathing and increased oxygen needs, can be caused by any of the following:
- Prematurity, when your baby is born before the lungs, and especially the air sacs, are fully developed.
- Oxygen use—high concentrations of oxygen can damage the cells of the lungs
- Mechanical ventilation. Some premature babies require breathing machines, suctioning of the airways, and the use of a endotracheal tube, which is placed in the trachea and connected to a breathing machine.
What are the risk factors for developing CLD?
Chronic lung disease may occur if your child . . .
- Is born at less than 34 weeks gestation
- Has a birthweight of less than 4 pounds, 6.4 ounces
- Has a family history of asthma
- Other associated conditions include:
- Pulmonary interstitial emphysema, a problem in which air leaks out of the airways into the spaces between the small air sacs of the lungs
- Patent ductus arteriosus, a connection between the blood vessels of the heart and lungs that doesn’t close (as it should) after birth
- Maternal womb infection
What are the symptoms of chronic lung disease?
Each baby may experience different symptoms, but common symptoms include:
- Respiratory distress (rapid breathing, flaring of the nostrils, chest retractions
- Continued need for mechanical ventilation or oxygen after your premature baby reaches 36 weeks gestation.