What is Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD)?

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Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) is a serious lung condition that affects mostly babies who are born more than 10 weeks before their due dates and weigh less than 2 pounds at birth.

Usually, these babies also have breathing problems at birth and need long-term breathing support and oxygen.

Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Many of these babies are born with serious respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). A normal baby’s lungs make a liquid, called surfactant, which coats the insides of the lungs and keeps them open so the baby can breathe in air once its born.

Babies born with RDS have lungs that haven’t developed enough to make surfactant. Unable to breath on their own, these babies are put on either a ventilator (also called a respirator) or a nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) machine. The breathing machines are necessary to prevent damage to their brains and other body organs that need oxygen. The babies are also given surfactant.

Prognosis for Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia and Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Typically, babies with RDS begin to get better within the next 2 to 4 weeks. If a baby gets worse and needs more oxygen and/or breathing assistance from a machine, the baby has developed BPD. These babies have lungs that are less developed.

With the current treatments, most babies with BPD get better and many go on to live normal lives.