Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

What is bronchopulmonary dysplasia?

Long-term respiratory problems faced by babies born prematurely are known, generally, as either bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) chronic lung disease (CLD).

Some premature babies require the use of a mechanical ventilator and extra oxygen to breathe; because their lungs are fragile, they may sustain injury in the process, and if the tissues inside the lungs become inflamed, they can break down, causing scarring. BPD is more common in Caucasian male babies. Babies with BPD may be at increased risk for respiratory infection.

What are the risk factors for developing BPD?

BPD 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

How we care for BPD

The Boston Children’s Hospital Center for Healthy Infant Lung Development (CHILD) offers a comprehensive, team-based approach to maximize the growth and development of the lungs. CHILD is staffed by an experienced team of clinicians, all with specialized training in the care of infants and toddlers with lung disease. And our unique Infant Follow-up Program tracks children from the time they leave the hospital until they are 3 to 4 years of age.