Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) Prayed Chronic lung disease is a problem that usually arises in premature babies born more than 4 weeks early (less than 36 weeks gestation), who weigh less than 3 ½ pounds (less than 1500 grams), and within the first 4 weeks of life. Premature babies born with bronchopulmonary dysplasia have lungs that don’t work properly, making it very difficult to breathe. Additional oxygen is required and often a respirator (ventilator) is also needed. Premature babies develop BPD from immature lungs, high oxygen levels, ventilators, infections, pneumonia, or other environmental sources that cause lung irritation.

Breathing problems in these premature babies need to be treated quickly because this can lead to low blood oxygen levels that affect the premature baby’s brain, heart, liver, and kidneys. However, health care providers must be careful not to be too aggressive because some of the treatments can have their own risk factors if used too often or too frequently. Risks must often be weighed to see which options are best for the baby’s survival, and that can change from moment to moment.

Some symptoms of bronchopulmonary dysplasia may include tachypnea, cough, wheezing, chest indrawing, staggering breathing, neck stretching, and episodes of blue skin. Doctors confirm the diagnosis and severity of bronchopulmonary dysplasia using a chest x-ray, assessing how long oxygen is needed, and determining if lung injury has occurred. Treating BPD is complicated since there is no specific treatment or medication that eliminates it.

Treating symptoms with oxygen, treating infections with medication, and keeping the premature baby well fed with adequate amounts of fluids will give the baby’s lungs a chance to mature and heal. Sometimes a premature baby will appear to have symptoms of BPD, but the diagnosis will be Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). RDS, also known as hyaline membrane disease or neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, is one of the most common lung problems in premature babies. BPD (bronchopulmonary dysplasia) survivors of premature babies tend to grow more slowly than normal and to be smaller than babies of the same age.

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