Cystic disease / congenital anomalies

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia

Last author update: 1 August 2011
Last staff update: 16 July 2020

Copyright: 2003-2023,, Inc.

PubMed search: bronchopulmonary dysplasia [title] lung

Elliot Weisenberg, M.D.
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Cite this page: Weisenberg E. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia. website. Accessed September 21st, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Complication of mechanical ventilation and oxygen therapy for treatment of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome
  • Infants almost always < 1200 gram birth weight and < 30 weeks gestation
  • Definition: requirement for supplemental oxygen for longer than 28 days of age, and a postmenstrual age of at least 36 weeks (eMedicine)
  • Due to decreased alveolar septation and capillary derangement, secondary to arrested septation of lungs, due to therapy in the saccular stage of lung development
  • Free radicals generated by oxygen therapy and inflammatory cytokines play a role in pathogenesis
Clinical features
  • Incidence has fallen with use of surfactant therapy in premature infants for neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (Semin Perinatol 2006;30:171)
  • Respiratory distress continues for months
  • Patients have limited pulmonary reserve, develop repeated infections, often have pulmonary hypertension and develop cor pulmonale
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Bronchiolar and interstitial fibrosis, compensatory emphysema of less damaged acini
  • Inadequate alveolar development causes fewer but larger alveoli
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Severe fibrosis

Severe fibrosis

Large alveoli

Large alveoli

Additional references
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