When your baby is cared for by our team, you will be in close contact with our BPD Center liaison, an advanced practice nurse, who will be your main contact with our multidisciplinary care team. Our entire team works to understand the subtle changes in each patient regarding their lung, airway and heart function, and make recommendations regarding therapies, ventilator management and potential surgical interventions. As your main contact, your liaison will ensure you are always up to date regarding your child’s care plan and will assist with answering any of your questions.
Treatment of BPD is unique for each child. We evaluate the level of lung, airway and heart involvement, and then personalize a treatment plan that focuses on your child’s type of BPD. Your child’s treatment may include one or more of the following:
- Oxygen Therapy: Babies with BPD often can’t take in enough oxygen on their own since their lungs are underdeveloped and injured.
- Mechanical Ventilator: To support your baby’s breathing when they may not be strong enough to breathe on their own.
- Medications: To reduce inflammation, increase blood flow to the lungs, help keep your baby’s airways open, or to reduce fluid buildup in the lungs.
- Tracheostomy: To help support your baby’s airway and provide stable breathing support.
- Nutritional Support: To supplement your baby’s unique nutritional and growth needs, additional feedings may be needed through a feeding tube.
The following tests and procedures are often used for diagnosing and treating children with BPD.
- MRI: To help us determine the factors that contribute to your baby’s type of BPD and help us determine the best treatment plan for your baby. We are the first center in the world to use this breakthrough imaging technology.
- Blood Tests: To show how much oxygen is in the blood and look for signs of infection.
- Chest X-Rays: To assess the health of the lungs.
- Echocardiograms (Echo): To see a moving picture of the heart. We combine echo with MRI, which allows for the most comprehensive diagnostic of pulmonary hypertension in infants.
- Modern Ventilation Strategies: Using the most current equipment and newest approaches that have been advanced by our world-leading experts for tailoring the ventilator settings for individual patients.
- Bronchoscopy: To understand the structure and movement of the airway during normal breathing.
- Impulse Oscillometry: To measure how well the upper and lower airways are working.
- Lung Clearance Index: To assess how uniform ventilation is.
Babies with BPD stay in the NICU for a wide range of time. Some may stay in the NICU for just a few weeks, and others will stay for months. We aim to help educate parents and families about their child’s illness, so you can learn what to expect about your baby’s length of stay in the NICU, as well as what it takes to care for a baby with a respiratory illness.
Babies with bronchopulmonary dysplasia improve gradually over time. Some recover lung function that is close to normal, while others have long-term lung damage requiring significant medical care over their lifetime.
Some babies go home with a home ventilator. We have care managers who will help you learn about your child’s respiratory care, including home ventilators, so you feel comfortable caring for them after they are discharged.
Here’s what to expect when your child returns for care to our BPD Center after being discharged: