Chronic Lung Disease

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Chronic Lung Disease (Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia) ( What is chronic lung disease? Chronic lung disease (CLD) is a general term for long-term respiratory problems in premature babies. It is also known as bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). What causes chronic lung disease? CLD results from lung injury to newborns who must use a mechanical ventilator and extra oxygen for breathing. The lungs of premature babies are fragile and are easily damaged. With injury, the tissues inside the lungs become inflamed and can break down causing scarring. This scarring can result in difficulty breathing and increased oxygen needs. Some of the causes of lung injury include the following: •prematurity - the lungs, especially the air sacs, are not fully developed •low amounts of surfactant (a substance in the lungs that helps keep the tiny air sacs open) •oxygen use (high concentrations of oxygen can damage the cells of the lungs) •mechanical ventilation - the pressure of air from breathing machines, suctioning of the airways, use of an endotracheal tube (ET tube - a tube placed in the trachea and connected to a breathing machine) Who is affected by chronic lung disease? Chronic lung disease can develop in premature babies who have had mechanical ventilation (breathing machine). Risk factors for developing CLD include: •birth at less than 30 weeks gestation •birth weight less than 1,000 (less than 2 pounds) to 1,500 grams (3 pounds 5 ounces) •hyaline membrane disease - lung disease of prematurity due to lack of surfactant that does not show the usual improvement by the third or fourth day. •pulmonary interstitial emphysema (PIE) - a problem in which air leaks out of the airways into the spaces between the small air sacs of the lungs. •patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) - a connection between the blood vessels of the heart and lungs that does not close as it should after birth.
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