Bronchopulmonary dysplasia is a chronic lung disease that affects premature babies and contributes to their morbidity and mortality. Improved survival of very immature infants has led to increased numbers of infants with this disorder. This increase puts a heavy burden on health resources since these infants need frequent re-admission to hospital in the first 2 years after birth and, even as adolescents, have lung-function abnormalities and persistent respiratory symptoms. Unlike the original description of the disease in 1967, premature infants can develop chronic oxygen dependency without severe, acute respiratory distress; this "new bronchopulmonary dysplasia" could be the result of impaired postnatal lung growth. Whether such infants subsequently have catch-up lung growth, especially if given corticosteroids postnatally, is unknown. No safe and effective preventive therapy has been identified, but promising new treatments directed either at reducing lung injury or improving lung growth are under study.