Pulmonology

Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

Our team treats bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in our Infant Pulmonary Clinic after infants have left the neonatal intensive care unit. We focus on medical pulmonary disease, oxygen management, feeding and nutritional evaluation, which are all crucial to lung development in premature babies.

BPD is a chronic lung disease that most often develops in premature babies. Due to immature development of the air sacs in the lungs, the lungs are unable to oxygenate the body effectively and require breathing support with a long-term oxygen or mechanical ventilation. The baby is often breathing harder and burning more calories to support lung and heart function. Over time, the lungs can become scarred or damaged from prolonged use of oxygen and can lead to additional problems that impact the infant’s ability to grow and gain weight. Additionally, BPD babies are often prone to respiratory infections and can have difficult recoveries.

The severity of BPD varies widely with each child. More severe BPD can progress to pulmonary hypertension, which impacts the heart and overall circulatory system. Often, babies will recover over time but some can persist with long-term breathing issues.

Signs and symptoms of bronchopulmonary dysplasia:

  • Rapid breathing 
  • Labored breathing 
  • Wheezing 
  • Bluish discoloration of the skin around the lips and nails due to low oxygen in the blood 
  • Poor growth 
  • Repeated lung infections that may require hospitalization