Problems Associated with BPD

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BPD is a disease that can affect many organs and body systems beyond the lungs. Because it is a disease that most often happens in preterm babies weeks after being born, some of the medical problems are also common in premature infants without BPD.

Even though some of these health problems are more common than others, it can be very difficult to tell which baby will develop them, or how severe a particular problem could become.

Some problems occur mostly during the NICU stay; others continue through infancy and early childhood.

Below is a list of possible problems associated with BPD. These are listed in no particular order, and have been put together to show you the different subspecialties (or consulting services) that you may see working with your BPD team, or with your primary Neonatology team. A Neonatologist and a Nurse Practitioner from the NICU will be helping your baby with all the potential issues that may come up.

BPD Problems Sub-Specialty Team(s)
Difficulties with nutrition and growth Nutrition team/Dieticians
Poor bone heath and risk of fractures Nutrition team/Dieticians
Liver and intestinal problems Gastroenterology and Gastrointestinal Rehabilitation teams, Pediatric Surgery
Developmental delays, mobility issues, sensory issues, cognitive issues Therapy services (Physical, Occupational, Speech, Developmental therapists), Neurology, NICU Follow Up Clinic (after discharge)
Hearing difficulties Audiology, Otolaryngology/ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) team
Vision problems Ophthalmology
Dysphagia (difficulty drinking or eating by mouth) and the need for feeding tube support Speech Therapy, Pediatric Surgery, ENT
Reflux Speech Therapy
Pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lung’s blood vessels) Pulmonary Hypertension, Cardiology
High blood pressure Kidney and/or Cardiology
Other heart problems, including a persistent PDA (patent ductus arteriosus, a blood vessel near the heart that typically closes shortly after birth but may stay open in preterm babies) Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery, Interventional Cardiology
Overinflated lungs, “blebs” Neonatology, Pulmonology
Airway problems – palate issues, vocal cord problems, trachea (windpipe) narrowing, malacia (floppy airways, large or small) ENT
Need for tracheostomy and chronic ventilation ENT, Pulmonary Habilitation Program, Pediatric ICU, Neonatology
Long-term use of medications for pain and sedation and risk of withdrawal from these medications; complex decisions Palliative Care
Very long ICU stay Complex Care Program, Case Management, Social Work
Blood clots Hematology
More frequent or more severe colds and respiratory infections Pediatricians, Pulmonology
Childhood asthma, wheezing Pediatricians, Pulmonology