Pronounced: Brong-ko-PUL-mo-ner-ee Dis-PLAY-se-ah
by Kelly de la Rocha
Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is abnormal development of the lungs in infants. It is considered a chronic lung disease. BPD can make it difficult for the infant to breathe. The condition usually develops in the first 4 weeks after birth.
The exact cause of BPD is unknown. It is most often associated with complication of early lung disease or their treatments. These conditions or treatments can cause irritation and swelling of lungs and airways. This can lead to BPD.
Factors that increase your infant’s risk of developing BPD include:
Symptoms may include:
Your infant’s medical history will be taken. A physical exam will be done.
Your infant’s bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with blood tests.
Your infant’s lung function may be tested. This can be done with pulse oximetry monitoring.
Images may be taken of your infants bodily structures. This can be done with:
There is no specific treatment for BPD. The main focus is to treat any symptoms. If needed, treatment may include support for the infant's breathing. This will help the infant get strong and allow the lungs to mature.
An extended hospital stay may be needed. Treatment options include the following:
A breathing machine is used to move air in and out of lungs. It can support an infant's breathing until he or she is stronger and can breathe well enough without help.
Oxygen may be delivered through a mask or nasal tube. It may be done by itself or after the ventilator is no longer needed. This treatment could continue for weeks or months. The infant may still need oxygen after coming home from the hospital.
Medication will be chosen based on the infant's needs. Medications may include:
Lung problems can make feeding difficult. Nutrition therapy can help the infant get stronger and healthier. It may include:
Early Intervention Therapy
Early intervention therapy may include several types of therapy. They will help improve the infant's development. It may include special exercises to improve muscle strength and clear mucus from the lungs.
There are no set guidelines for preventing BPD. However, there are some things you can do to decrease the risk of a premature birth and ensure you will give birth to a healthy infant such as:
American Lung Association
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
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Baveja R, Christou H: Pharmacological strategies in the prevention and management of bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Semin Perinatol. 2006;30:209-18.
Bronchopulmonary dysplasia. American Lung Association website. Available at:
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Accessed September 21, 2017.
Bronchopulmonary dysplasia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated June 26, 2017. Accessed September 21, 2017.
Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) of the newborn . EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated June 26, 2017. Accessed September 21, 2017.
Short EJ, Kirchner HL, Asaad GR, et al. Developmental sequelae in preterm infants having a diagnosis of bronchopulmonary dysplasia: analysis using a severity-based classification system. Arch Ped adolesc Med. 2007;16:1082-7.
4/1/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T905359/Choosing-Wisely: Choosing wisely. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
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Updated July 23, 2015. Accessed September 29, 2016.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 9/8/2014
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