The impact of a preterm birth on lung function in later life is not always predictable and the variability of lung phenotype in these children can be striking even among children of the same gestational age. Although many children with a history of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) improve with age, others continue to manifest significant pulmonary abnormalities. Several different lung phenotypes have been described in older children with a history of BPD. These descriptions have been based in part on chronic respiratory symptoms, pulmonary function abnormalities, and response to respiratory illnesses. These lung phenotypes include large and/or small airway dysfunction, impaired alveolar growth characterized by decreased pulmonary reserve, and pulmonary hypertension found primarily in children with severe chronic lung disease. Children with a history of BPD can manifest 1 or more of these lung phenotypes with varying degrees of severity. Currently, treatment of respiratory symptoms is primarily supportive and symptom based. Although many children improve with age, others continue to have chronic respiratory symptoms into adult life. The development of standardized guidelines for the care of children after discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit may help direct appropriate therapy, limit lung injury, and maximize lung growth potential in this vulnerable group of children.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine