Outpatient Respiratory Management of Infants, Children, and Adolescents with Post-Prematurity Respiratory Disease: An Official American Thoracic Society Clinical Practice Guideline

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2021 Dec 15;204(12):e115-e133. doi: 10.1164/rccm.202110-2269ST.


Background: Premature birth affects millions of neonates each year, placing them at risk for respiratory disease due to prematurity. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia is the most common chronic lung disease of infancy, but recent data suggest that even premature infants who do not meet the strict definition of bronchopulmonary dysplasia can develop adverse pulmonary outcomes later in life. This post-prematurity respiratory disease (PPRD) manifests as chronic respiratory symptoms, including cough, recurrent wheezing, exercise limitation, and reduced pulmonary function. This document provides an evidence-based clinical practice guideline on the outpatient management of infants, children, and adolescents with PPRD. Methods: A multidisciplinary panel of experts posed questions regarding the outpatient management of PPRD. We conducted a systematic review of the relevant literature. The Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation approach was used to rate the quality of evidence and the strength of the clinical recommendations. Results: The panel members considered the strength of each recommendation and evaluated the benefits and risks of applying the intervention. In formulating the recommendations, the panel considered patient and caregiver values, the cost of care, and feasibility. Recommendations were developed for or against three common medical therapies and four diagnostic evaluations in the context of the outpatient management of PPRD. Conclusions: The panel developed recommendations for the outpatient management of patients with PPRD on the basis of limited evidence and expert opinion. Important areas for future research were identified.

Keywords: bronchopulmonary dysplasia; chronic lung disease; prematurity.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aftercare
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / therapy*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / therapy*