Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)

What complications are associated with BPD?

If your newborn has been treated with oxygen or on a ventilator and has BPD they may have difficulty breathing and other complications later on. Your hospital doctor will probably have explained more about what symptoms to look out for.

Infections

If your baby has BPD, they may develop more symptoms or experience them more severely. They may take longer to recover from respiratory infections. It’s important to try and prevent your baby from getting infections if you can.

Viral chest infections often last longer in babies with BPD than in other infants. They can set back the progress of babies with BPD. For example, your child may need to go back onto oxygen or increase the amount of oxygen they receive.

Children with BPD are at risk of developing breathing difficulties when they get a viral infection. This can happen even with infections that would only cause a mild cold in most babies.  It is important to be aware of symptoms that mean you should get immediate help.

Difficulty feeding and reflux

Babies with severe BPD may have difficulty feeding and reflux.

It’s important that babies with BPD get adequate nourishment. If your baby has reflux a lot and appears to bring up lots of milk, tell your doctor. Your baby may be unsettled after feeds or not want to feed as one of the symptoms of reflux.

Talk to your doctor if your child is coughing, choking or being sick after feeding. You may also notice your child is not gaining weight as quickly as they should.

Pulmonary hypertension

If the lungs don’t have enough oxygen, the arteries that carry blood to the lungs can easily get narrower. The heart has to work harder to pump blood. This can cause pulmonary hypertension. It can be prevented and treated by making sure your baby has enough oxygen in their blood. Some babies may also need medication.

High blood pressure

Your baby’s body may be under a lot of stress. This can cause high blood pressure. Babies with BPD should have their blood pressure checked regularly.

If you have concerns or need advice, call our helpline on 03000 030 555 between 9am and 5pm on a weekday or email them.

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Last medically reviewed: September 2019. Due for review: September 2022

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.