Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD)

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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It is possible that the main title of the report Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is a chronic respiratory disease that most often occurs in low-weight or premature infants who have received supplemental oxygen or have spent long periods of time on a breathing machine (mechanical ventilation), such as infants who have acute respiratory distress syndrome. BPD can also occur in older infants who experience abnormal lung development or some infants that have had an infection before birth (antenatal infection) or placental abnormalities (such as preeclampsia). Antenatal steroid treatment prior to preterm birth and early treatment with surfactant have reduced the need for high levels of respiratory support after birth.

Affected infants may have rapid, labored breathing and bluish discoloration of the skin due to low levels of oxygen in the blood (cyanosis). Infants are not born with BPD, the condition results from damage to the lungs. Although most infants fully recover from BPD, some subjects have sustained abnormalities of lung function and structure throughout adolescence and into adulthood. However, the condition can cause serious complications during infancy and often requires hospitalization and intensive medical care, especially during the first 2 years after birth.

The survival of low birth weight infants has improved steadily over the past few decades. Many infants diagnosed with BPD today are born at far earlier gestational ages than in the past. Researchers believe that these cases of BPD are less associated with injury and repair to the lungs and more likely represent an underlying disruption or abnormality affecting the development of the lungs. These infants may require chronic oxygen supplementation even without developing acute respiratory distress syndrome. These cases are sometimes referred to as "new" BPD.

Supporting Organizations

American Lung Association

55 W. Wacker Drive
Suite 1150
Chicago, IL 60601
Tel: 1-800-548-8252

British Lung Foundation

73-75 Goswell Road
London, EC1V 7ER
United Kingdom
Tel: 0207 688 5555
Tel: 3000030555

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311

March of Dimes

1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: (914)997-4488
Fax: (914)997-4763
Email: or
Website: and

NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

P.O. Box 30105
Bethesda, MD 20892-0105
Tel: (301)592-8573
Fax: (301)251-1223

NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

31 Center Dr
Building 31, Room 2A32
Bethesda, MD 20892
Fax: (866)760-5947
Tel: (800)370-2943

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report.

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

Last Updated:  4/28/2015
Copyright  2015 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.