Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia



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.
Infant Airway and Lungs
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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.

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your infant’s risk of developing BPD include:
  • Any severe illness requiring oxygen therapy and/or the use of a ventilator for an extended time
  • Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS)—a lung disorder often affecting premature babies that causes difficulty with breathing
  • Collapsed lung
  • Premature birth
  • Immature lungs
  • High blood pressure
  • Congenital heart diseases that cause excess blood flow through the lungs such as patent ductus arteriosus
  • Tracheomalacia
  • Subglottic stenosis
  • Infections
  • Pneumonia


Symptoms may include:
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Retractions—with each breath, the chest appears to sink in between the ribs or under the ribcage
  • Cough
  • See-saw breathing–movement of the chest and stomach in opposite directions with each breath
  • Wheezing or noisy breathing
  • Raising or stretching the neck to push more air into the lungs
  • Poor posture of the trunk, shoulders, and neck
  • Bluish color to the skin

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