Chronic Lung Disease
Chronic lung disease, also known as bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), is a general term used to describe long-term respiratory problems among premature babies.
It develops due to an injury to a newborn’s delicate lungs when they require a mechanical ventilator to breathe properly. When the injury occurs, the lungs become inflamed and scarring can occur, causing difficulty breathing. Though chronic lung disease is a scary diagnosis for parents, with proper treatment from our team of top chronic lung disease specialists in Los Angeles, most babies are able to fully recover with very few long-term health problems.
Risk factors for developing chronic lung disease
Not all premature babies will develop chronic lung disease. A child’s chance of developing the condition increases with the following risk factors:
- Birth before 26 weeks.
- Weighing less than 2.2 pounds at birth.
- Respiratory distress and breathing problems at birth.
- Pulmonary interstitial emphysema (PIE).
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA).
- The premature baby is white and male.
- The mother suffered an infection of the womb.
- A family history of asthma.
- Developing an infection shortly after birth.
The most common sign that a baby has chronic lung disease is the need for continued mechanical ventilation or oxygen assistance. Most babies with chronic lung disease also display respiratory distress, which may include rapid breathing, flaring of the nostrils and wheezing. In addition, infants with chronic lung disease also tire easily after feeding and their skin may have a pale, gray or blotchy appearance.
How is chronic lung disease diagnosed?
The best lung disease treatment Los Angeles has to offer begins with a definitive diagnosis – something our specialists are vastly experienced in providing. To begin, we will assess your baby’s breathing difficulties. If your baby requires extra oxygen or continues to have trouble breathing 28 days after birth, he or she will be diagnosed with chronic lung disease.
From there, we will order chest x-rays to determine the extent of the disease, blood tests to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood, lung function tests to determine the damage and an echocardiography to assess the heart’s function and identify any underlying causes for the condition.
How is chronic lung disease treated?
Our specialists are experts in delivering among the best lung disease treatment Orange County has to offer, resolving the condition and ensuring your child is able to lead a full life without complications. The treatment will be customized based on your child’s age, health and tolerance for medications and therapies, as well as the extent of the disease. In addition, treatment for chronic lung disease tends to be long-term, and may last several months to a full year. With that said, typical treatments for chronic lung disease include:
- Additional oxygen treatments to help your baby breathe.
- Mechanical ventilation while your baby’s lungs grow.
- Surfactant replacement.
- Medications including antibiotics to eliminate infection, bronchodilators to open the airways, steroids to minimize inflammation, diuretics to reduce fluid in the lungs and immunizations to prevent lung infections from developing.
- Intravenous nutrition to help the lungs grow.
- An incubator to keep your baby warm and minimize the risk of an infection.
Initial treatment will take place in the hospital, and may last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Depending on the extent of the condition, you may need to continue treatment when you return home. This may include continuing to give your baby oxygen at home, making sure he or she gets the appropriate nutrients and looking for signs of breathing problems.
If it’s suspected that your baby is suffering from chronic lung disease, please know that effective treatment is available with expert care from our team of among the best lung specialists Long Beach has to offer. Please contact us today to schedule an appointment, and let us repair your child’s lungs and prevent complications from developing.Contact Us