Treatments for Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia in Children

Your baby's physician will determine a course of treatment based on your baby's gestational age, overall health, the extent of the disease, your baby's tolerance for specific medications, procedures and therapies, and your opinion or preference. Treatment may include:

  • Extra oxygen
  • Mechanical ventilation with gradual weaning as your baby's lungs grow.
  • Medications such as bronchodilators, which help open your baby's airways, and steroids, which will reduce inflammation.
  • Limiting fluids, as excess fluid can worsen breathing ability
  • Proper nutrition
  • Immunization against lung infection by influenza

Some babies with CLD require mechanical ventilators for several months. Some will continue to require oxygen even after they leave the hospital, but most can be weaned by the end of their first year.

 Alternative ventilation easier on lungs
Bernadette Levesque, MD, of the Division of Newborn Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital led research which shows that mechanical ventilators can be hard on an infant's lungs, and instead, encourage the use of “bubble” continuous positive airway pressure (bCPAP) system, which delivers a warmer, humidified oxygen that's more gentle on an infant's lungs. Learn more about the bCPAP system in the Children's newsroom.