Facebook Pixel

Adult Survivors of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

By HERWriter
Rate This

What is Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia?

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia or BPD is used to describe abnormal development or growth (dysplasia) of lung tissue and structures. It usually affects pre-term infants and full-term infants who experience respiratory issues after birth. Symptoms of BPD appear within the first month after birth. Generally, "babies who are still dependent on a respirator for oxygen at 28 days of age and whose chest x-rays are typical of BPD are considered to have the disorder" (www.doereport.com).

BPD, along with cystic fibrosis and asthma, ranks as one of the most common chronic lung conditions to affect infants in the United States. "Approximately 5,000 to 10,000 new cases of BPD (20 to 30 percent of infants surviving respiratory distress syndrome) occur each year" (www.doereport.com). About 4000 of those patients survive infancy.

The risk of BPD increases with the decrease in gestation period. In fact, 90 percent of infants who develop BPD weigh less than 3.5 pounds.

BPD Adults

When the condition was first identified in 1967, many babies born prematurely who developed BPD, did not survive. As treatment for pre-term babies and BPD have improved, therefore increasing chances of living into adulthood, which has led doctors and scientists to wonder if these patients continue to have lung problems when they grow up, and if so, what kind.

According to a report in the December 27, 1990 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, "investigators showed that respiratory abnormalities may be found in a majority of patients who had bronchopulmonary dysplasia in infancy. However, in many patients these abnormalities were asymptomatic..." (www.faqs.org/abstracts/Health/).

The American Journal of Roentgenology published a report in 2000 about the high-resolution CT findings of three medical institutions - Vancouver Hospital & Health Sciences Centre, University of British Columbia, Canada; Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California; and, Royal Bromptom National Heart and Lung Hospital, London, England. This study showed that survivors of neonatal bronchopulmonary dysplasia experience reduced lung strength and ability to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen in the blood stream, thickening of the bronchial wall, and other structural and performance-related issues.

In April 2008, The European Respiratory Journal published an article based on the findings of the Advanced Lung Disease Program in the Royal Perth Hospital in Western Australia, and other renowned Australian hospitals. Of the 21 participants, 71 percent experienced persistent respiratory symptoms. CT examinations of the lungs also revealed abnormal results, the most common being emphysema, which was found in 84 percent of the subjects tested.

All three studies deduced that while survival rates since the discovery of the condition in infants has increased due to better diagnostic tools and treatments, adult BPD survivors still experience "residual functional and characteristic structural pulmonary abnormalities" (www.erj.ersjournals.com).

Sources: www.doereport.com; http://kidshealth.org; www.ajronline.org; www.erj.ersjournals.com; www.faqs.org/abstracts/Health/

Add a Comment6 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

My grandson was born at 25 weeks- 2.2 lbs- he too has BPD- We are so unbelievable grateful to Nationwide Childrens hospital in Columbus Ohio- he is in several studies there. He formed a growth/ tumor which was removed at 6 months- after that - he never used Oxygen again. He is amazing. He has had pneumonia one time following bad cold during the winter at 1 1/2 yrs- but is doing great. He runs, plays and you would never know he has any issues. We keep him home during cold and flu season for the time being and with the COVID 19 crisis- we are super cautious- no one is allowed in or out except one grandparent to help with caring for 3 kids and mom's sanity lol He is smaller than most kids his age and a little behind on speech. We work with him a lot and he has therapy and follow up with Childrens regularly. Not sure what else to expect- hopefully no more complications? Glad to have any input. He shockingly seems perfectly normal to watch him run and play. He is our wild one.. ha ha

April 21, 2020 - 2:59pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anon

I'm so happy to read about how well your grandson is doing; you're wise to make sure he isn't around any strangers at this time since his immune system might be a little weak. 

We can't speculate regarding future complications but the fact that is continually improving is the best you can ask for, and also the fact that he is involved in studies where he'll get the best care and monitoring. 

We wish your family well - keep us posted on how the little lad is doing! 



April 22, 2020 - 7:25am
EmpowHER Guest

i would like to now the out look with thid disese i was one of the forst premies to suvive in 1978, i now have copd stahe 4 lung disese and bpd with never went way would love to no more about prognosis and chances for traspant.

September 23, 2014 - 3:20pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for your comment.

Unfortunately, I'm not qualified to provide you that information. Only your doctor can answer those questions for you.

September 24, 2014 - 7:53am
EmpowHER Guest

I had this condition when I was born and I still have to use A nebulizer everyday to be able to open my lungs to be able to breathe but other than that i am ok

April 27, 2013 - 6:32pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for sharing your story!

April 28, 2013 - 7:05am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Bronchoplumonary Dysplasia

Get Email Updates

Bronchoplumonary Dysplasia Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!