Nonventilatory strategies for prevention and treatment of bronchopulmonary dysplasia--what is the evidence?

Neonatology. 2008;94(3):150-9. doi: 10.1159/000143719. Epub 2008 Aug 1.


This review briefly summarizes the evidence for a number of mainly drug-related strategies to prevent or treat bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). Oxygen supplementation is frequently used in neonatal units and oxygen toxicity plays an important role in the pathogenesis of BPD. However, current evidence for an optimal oxygen saturation for extremely premature infants is scarce. This gap in knowledge will hopefully be closed by a number of ongoing or prospective trials addressing this issue. The role of inhalational nitric oxide in the prevention of BPD is still unclear despite existing data from a number of large randomized trials. Early administration of caffeine seems to confer a benefit with regard to BPD. Prophylactic or early application of surfactant may also be beneficial. High intramuscular doses of vitamin A slightly reduce the incidence of the disease. There is currently no evidence supporting other nutritional interventions to prevent BPD. Anti-inflammatory drugs, like alpha(1)-proteinase inhibitor, pentoxifylline and azithromycin, and antioxidants, like N-acetylcysteine and superoxide dismutase, have not been proven effective yet. Diuretics can ameliorate lung function, but there is no evidence supporting their long-term use. Ureaplasma urealyticum colonization of airways is associated with an increased risk of BPD. However, there is no proof for an effect of erythromycin on BPD. The potential roles for therapies like bombesin-like peptide-blocking antibodies or Clara cell 10-kDa protein have yet to be defined.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / drug therapy
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / prevention & control
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / therapy*
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Nitric Oxide / administration & dosage
  • Oxygen / administration & dosage
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / administration & dosage
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Pulmonary Surfactants
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Caffeine
  • Oxygen