Discharge and aftercare in chronic lung disease of the newborn

Semin Neonatol. 2003 Apr;8(2):117-26. doi: 10.1016/S1084-2756(02)00136-7.


This article deals with the discharge planning and continuing care of babies with chronic lung disease of the newborn (CLD), especially those with a continuing oxygen requirement, with some reference to longer term outcome. The pattern of CLD has changed since early descriptions, and the most useful definition for persisting morbidity in a baby with lung disease is a continuing oxygen requirement beyond 36 weeks post-menstrual age. Long-term oxygen therapy to maintain oxygen saturation at a mean of 95% or more and prevent levels below 90% is the cornerstone of management, and with adequate oxygen therapy the excess mortality previously reported in CLD can largely be avoided. Care must be given to the method of assessing oxygen saturation: overnight monitoring using appropriate recording devices is recommended. Exposure to respiratory viruses should be minimized where possible. Metabolic requirements are increased, but if efforts are made to maintain adequate energy input the long-term outlook for catch-up growth in height is good. Respiratory morbidity is increased in early life, but this improves in later childhood, along with lung function and exercise tolerance. Although respiratory symptoms should be treated as they arise, there is no evidence for long-term benefit from any pharmacological intervention in CLD.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aftercare / standards*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / prevention & control*
  • Infant Care* / methods
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal / standards
  • Lung Diseases / etiology
  • Lung Diseases / therapy*
  • Parents / education
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Discharge / standards*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / complications
  • Risk Assessment