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About Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) – Part 3

Complications of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia BPD

• After coming through the more critical stages of BPD, some infants still have longer-term complications.
• They are often more susceptible to respiratory infections.
• These infections are like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and pneumonia.
• When they come down with an infection, they tend to get sicker than most children do.
• Another respiratory complication of BPD includes excess fluid buildup in the lungs.
• This is known as pulmonary edema which makes it more difficult for air to travel through the airways.
• Occasionally, kids with a history of BPD may also develop complications of the circulatory system.
• They may develop pulmonary hypertension in which the pulmonary arteries — the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs — become narrowed and cause high blood pressure.
• This is relatively uncommon and a late complication.

Effects of medications they might have to take include:
• Dehydration and low sodium levels from diuretics.
• Kidney stones.
• Hearing problems.
• Low potassium and calcium levels from long-term furosemide use.
• Infants with BPD often grow more slowly than other babies.
• They have difficulty gaining weight.
• They tend to lose weight when they are sick.
• Premature infants with severe BPD also have a higher incidence of cerebral palsy.

Caring for Your Child

• Parents play a critical role in caring for an infant with BPD.
• An important precaution is to reduce your child’s exposure to potential respiratory infections.
• Limit visits from people who are sick.
• If the child needs day care, pick a small center, where there will be less exposure to infectious agents.
• Making sure that your child receives all the recommended vaccinations.
• This also can help ward off problems as well.
• And keep your child away from tobacco smoke, particularly in your home.
• It is a serious respiratory irritant.
• If your baby requires oxygen at home then consult the doctors.
• They will show you how to work the tube and check oxygen levels.
• Children with asthma-type symptoms may need bronchodilators to relieve asthma-like attacks.
• You can give this medication to your child with a puffer or nebulizer.
• This puffer or nebulizer produces a fine spray of medicine that your child then breathes in.
• As infants with BPD sometimes have trouble growing due to breathing problems, the baby might have to be fed with a high-calorie formula.
• Some babies with BPD who are slower to gain weight will go home from the NICU on gastric tube feedings.
• Formula feedings may be given alone or as a supplement to breastfeeding.

When to Call the Doctor?

• Once a baby comes home from the hospital, parents still need to watch for signs of respiratory distress or BPD emergencies.
• Signs that an infant might need immediate care include:
– faster breathing than normal.
– Working much harder than usual to breathe.
– Belly sinking in with breathing.
– Pulling in of the skin between the ribs with each breath.
– Growing tired or lethargic from working to breathe.
– Mmore coughing than usual.
– Panting or grunting.
– Wheezing.
– Pale, dusky, or blue skin color that may start around the lips or nail beds.
– Trouble feeding or excess spitting up or vomiting of feedings.
Call your doctor or seek emergency medical attention right away, if any of the above symptoms are seen in the child.

Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

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