Chronic Lung Disease in Infants
What is chronic lung disease?
Chronic lung disease is a condition in which damaged tissue in a newborn baby's lungs causes breathing and health problems. The lungs trap air or collapse, fill with fluid, and produce extra mucus.
Most babies who have chronic lung disease survive. And many children outgrow most of their lung problems.
Chronic lung disease is also known as bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).
What causes chronic lung disease?
Things that alone or in combination can lead to chronic lung disease include:
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of chronic lung disease may develop as soon as 3 days after birth.
The most common first symptom of chronic lung disease is difficulty breathing. You may notice your newborn:
How is chronic lung disease diagnosed?
There is no one test to diagnose chronic lung disease. A doctor may first suspect it if your baby has difficulty breathing. The diagnosis is confirmed when one of the following is present:
A doctor may order other tests to rule out other causes of breathing trouble. A baby who has been already diagnosed with chronic lung disease may have more tests to help doctors check for complications.
How is it treated?
Treatment for chronic lung disease depends on how severe it is. Treatment does not cure chronic lung disease, but it does help the newborn breathe more easily. This minimizes the stress on the newborn's body while the lungs mature and heal on their own. Treatment begins in the hospital, with oxygen therapy and other treatments, and usually continues at home. Before the parents and baby leave the hospital, doctors and nurses train the parents on how to care for their child.
Many children who have chronic lung disease outgrow most of their lung problems. While they have the disease, they need to get enough nutrients to help them grow and develop and to help prevent complications of the disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
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