Conditions treated

Prematurity related disorders

Prematurity related disorders


What are the chronic lung diseases in premature babies?

Chronic lung disease is a term which is used to describe long-term breathing problems that occur in premature babies. It is also called as bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).

What are the causes of chronic lung disease in premature babies?

Premature babies very frequently need assisted ventilation and oxygen support as they are their lungs are immature and cannot maintain the oxygenation levels. Ventilator use and high concentrations of oxygen, may result in damaging the lungs in premature babies.

chronic lung diseases in premature babies

Why is lung injury common in preterm babies as compared to term babies?

There can be various reasons like:

  • Prematurity.A premature baby‚Äôs lungs are immature and delicate.
  • Low amounts of surfactant. This is a chemical substance in the lining of the lungs which helps keep the air sacs or alveoli open.
  • Oxygen use. High concentrations of oxygen can harm the lungs.
  • Assisted ventilation or ventilators. High air pressures can damage the lungs. This high pressure may come from breathing machines, suctioning of the airways, and use of an endotracheal (ET) tube. An ET tube is a tube which connects a baby‚Äôs trachea to the ventilator or a breathing machine.
Which premature babies are at risk for chronic lung disease?

Prematurity itself as we have already discussed a risk factor for chronic lung disease. The factors which increase the chances of a lung injury in these babies are:

  • Age of the baby: Babies born before 30 week gestation are at greater risk.
  • Birth weight: Babies with a low birth weight, especially those below 1 kg weight at birth are at higher risk.
  • Breathing difficulty or respiratory distress. This is a lung disease which is caused because of lack of surfactant.
  • Pulmonary interstitial emphysema (PIE). This is a potentially serious condition resulting when air leaks out of the airways. The air leaks into the spaces between the air sacs.
  • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). This condition occurs due to persistent connection between the blood vessels of the heart and lungs, which do not close after birth.
  • Race and sex. Premature white, male babies have a greater risk for chronic lung disease.
  • Maternal infections. If a woman has an infection called chorioamnionitis during pregnancy, her baby is at a higher risk for chronic lung disease.
  • Heredity. A family history of asthma can put the baby at a higher risk.
  • Infection. Getting an infection during or soon after birth.
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