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Prevention of bronchopulmonary dysplasia in extremely low gestational age neonates: current evidence
  1. Christian F Poets,
  2. Laila Lorenz
  1. Department of Neonatology, University Children’s Hospital, Tübingen, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Professor Christian F Poets, Department of Neonatology, University Children’s Hospital, Tübingen 72076, Germany; christian-f.poets{at}


Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is one of the most frequent complications in extremely low gestational age neonates, but has remained largely unchanged in rate. We reviewed data on BPD prevention focusing on recent meta-analyses. Interventions with proven effectiveness in reducing BPD include the primary use of non-invasive respiratory support, the application of surfactant without endotracheal ventilation and the use of volume-targeted ventilation in infants requiring endotracheal intubation. Following extubation, synchronised nasal ventilation is more effective than continuous positive airway pressure in reducing BPD. Pharmacologically, commencing caffeine citrate on postnatal day 1 or 2 seems more effective than a later start. Applying intramuscular vitamin A for the first 4 weeks reduces BPD, but is expensive and painful and thus not widely used. Low-dose hydrocortisone for the first 10 days prevents BPD, but was associated with almost twice as many cases of late-onset sepsis in infants born at 24–25 weeks’ gestation. Inhaled corticosteroids, despite reducing BPD, were associated with a higher mortality rate. Administering dexamethasone to infants still requiring mechanical ventilation around postnatal weeks 2–3 may represent the best trade-off between restricting steroids to infants at risk of BPD while still affording high efficacy. Finally, identifying infants colonised with ureaplasma and treating those requiring intubation and mechanical ventilation with azithromycin is another promising approach to BPD prevention. Further interventions yet only backed by cohort studies include exclusive breastmilk feeding and a better prevention of nosocomial infections.

  • bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • dexamethasone
  • inhaled corticosteroids
  • volume-targeted ventilation
  • ureaplasma

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  • Contributors CFP wrote the first draft and critically revised the manuscript, LL critically revised the draft for important intellectual input.

  • Funding LL was supported by an Intramural Habilitation Program (TÜFF; 2459-0-0).

  • Competing interests CFP has received speaker honoraria from Chiesi Farmaceutici.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.