Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Paediatr Drugs. 2004;6(5):303-30.

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia in preterm infants: pathophysiology and management strategies.

Author information

  • 1Strong Children's Research Center, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York, USA.


Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) has classically been described as including inflammation, architectural disruption, fibrosis, and disordered/delayed development of the infant lung. As infants born at progressively earlier gestations have begun to survive the neonatal period, a 'new' BPD, consisting primarily of disordered/delayed development, has emerged. BPD causes not only significant complications in the newborn period, but is associated with continuing mortality, cardiopulmonary dysfunction, re-hospitalization, growth failure, and poor neurodevelopmental outcome after hospital discharge. Four major risk factors for BPD include premature birth, respiratory failure, oxygen supplementation, and mechanical ventilation, although it is unclear whether any of these factors is absolutely necessary for development of the condition. Genetic susceptibility, infection, and patent ductus arteriosus have also been implicated in the pathogenesis of the disease. The strategies with the strongest evidence for effectiveness in preventing or lessening the severity of BPD include prevention of prematurity and closure of a clinically significant patent ductus arteriosus. Some evidence of effectiveness also exists for single-course therapy with antenatal glucocorticoids in women at risk for delivering premature infants, surfactant replacement therapy in intubated infants with respiratory distress syndrome, retinol (vitamin A) therapy, and modes of respiratory support designed to minimize 'volutrauma' and oxygen toxicity. The most effective treatments for ameliorating symptoms or preventing exacerbation in established BPD include oxygen therapy, inhaled glucocorticoid therapy, and vaccination against respiratory pathogens.Many other strategies for the prevention or treatment of BPD have been proposed, but have weaker or conflicting evidence of effectiveness. In addition, many therapies have significant side effects, including the possibility of worsening the disease despite symptom improvement. For instance, supraphysiologic systemic doses of glucocorticoids lessen the incidence of BPD in infants at risk for the disease, and promote weaning of oxygen and mechanical ventilation in infants with established BPD. However, the side effects of systemic glucocorticoid therapy, most notably the recently recognized adverse effects on neurodevelopment, preclude their routine use for the prevention or treatment of BPD. Future research in BPD will most probably focus on continued incremental improvements in outcome, which are likely to be achieved through the combined effects of many therapeutic modalities.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk