Pathophysiology and treatment of bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Current issues

Pediatr Clin North Am. 1994 Apr;41(2):277-315. doi: 10.1016/s0031-3955(16)38726-0.


Although much has been learned about BPD in the 25 years since its initial description, BPD remains a significant complication of prematurity. Substantial advances into the understanding of its pathophysiology and pathogenesis have been made and are reflected in new therapeutic interventions. Much current research is directed towards the role of prevention, exploring new approaches for accelerating lung maturation with combined maternal steroid and thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) therapy, surfactant replacement therapy, high frequency oscillatory ventilation, antioxidant administration, manipulation of endogenous antioxidants, and other pharmacologic strategies to minimize lung injury. The impact of other technologies, such as synchronized intermittent mandatory ventilation, perfluorocarbon (liquid) ventilation, and perhaps inhaled nitric oxide therapy may become additional parts of the clinical regimen for some cases of severe neonatal respiratory failure. Less information is available on mechanisms which can hasten lung healing. Ongoing studies of inflammatory products, growth factors, and cytokines may lead to new therapies which will favorably influence the fibroproliferative phase of disease. In the meantime, the medical and social impact of BPD continues to remain a significant problem not only during infancy but also throughout life. Mildred Stahlman, MD, recently wrote that (a)s sanguine as the future looks for surfactant therapy, it may leave us with more very low-birth weight infants who survive, whose potential for normal pulmonary growth and development is unknown, and whose very immature organ systems, besides the lung, are still susceptible to metabolic, neurologic, and other problems. As more survivors are reaching young adulthood, respiratory and neurodevelopmental complications persist. Thus, as advances in the care of the premature newborn with respiratory distress have dramatically improved survival, the management of chronic lung disease and related problems remains a continuing challenge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / complications
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / pathology
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / physiopathology*
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / therapy*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Diuretics / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / etiology
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung / pathology
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy
  • Pulmonary Edema / drug therapy
  • Pulmonary Edema / etiology
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / etiology
  • Steroids / therapeutic use


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Diuretics
  • Steroids