Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD)

What is Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD)?

Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) is a chronic lung condition primarily affecting premature infants. It is a form of chronic lung disease that can occur in babies born at lower gestational ages, normally between 26 and 32 weeks of gestation. It can occur if a baby needs to be placed on a ventilator for longer than 28 days and is caused by the continued irritation of the respiratory system with too much oxygen and pressure.

Signs and Symptoms of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

The most common signs and symptoms of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia include:

  • Difficulty breathing or fast breathing
  • Frequent coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Blue color of the lips and fingernails (cyanosis)
  • Extended period of time with a low oxygen level
  • Uncontrollable breathing pattern (apnea)
  • Developmental delays due to lack of oxygen

Risk Factors for Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

The most common risk factor for Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia is premature birth. BPD occurs when a baby is born before 32 weeks in the womb. Other risk factors for BPD include:

  • Chronic lung infections
  • Inadequate nutrition
  • Exposure to irritants, such as cigarette smoke
  • Lack of antenatal care
  • Low birth weight

Complications of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

Some of the potential long-term complications of BPD include:

  • Chronic lung disease
  • Bronchiectasis (weakening and diseasing of the walls of the airways)
  • Decreased lung function
  • Chronic respiratory infections
  • Frequent wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Developmental delay
  • Delayed growth and development

Treatment for Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

Treatment for BPD involves medications, supplemental oxygen, and aggressive respiratory care. The goal of treatment is to reduce inflammation, encourage lung growth, and manage any infections. Some of the medications used to treat BPD include bronchodilators, steroid inhalers, antibiotics, and surfactants.