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Infant Chronic Lung Disease Program

At Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, we are committed to providing your child with the best start to life. You will find the care and support necessary for your child to thrive through our Infant Chronic Lung Disease Program.

As we focus on treating the lungs, we also address other conditions of prematurity that may develop. Our multidisciplinary team of specialists cares for each aspect of your child’s health during this critical time of growth and development. We put your child and your family at the center of every decision as we work together to optimize your child’s health.

Infant Chronic Lung Disease Program: Why Choose Us

The Infant Chronic Lung Disease Program at Children’s Hospital offers:

  • Recognized pediatric expertise: CHLA is a regional referral center for mild to severe chronic lung disease in infants. U.S. News & World Report ranks our neonatal (newborn) and pulmonology (lung) services among the top in the nation. We have also been recognized as the best children’s hospital in California and one of the best in the country. You can trust our team to provide expert and compassionate care.
  • Seamless, long-term care: Our services begin in our Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU), recognized for excellent, lifesaving, and patient- and family-centered care. We focus on getting infants home with their families as soon as it is possible and safe. We ensure a smooth transition from the NICCU to other inpatient units and outpatient follow-up care. Your child receives long-term follow-up care in our outpatient Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) Clinic.
  • A multidisciplinary approach: We take a coordinated, team approach to diagnosing and treating chronic lung disease in infants. A comprehensive team of experts cares for your child in the NICCU, including neonatologists, pulmonologists, respiratory therapists and dietitians. At our BPD Clinic, your child can see multiple specialists during one appointment, in the same place.
  • Personalized treatment: Through advanced evaluations, we create a customized care plan to support your child’s lungs, growth and development. We personalize our approach to chronic lung disease in infants based on what works best for your child. We use various ventilator (breathing machine) strategies, medications and therapies during treatment.
  • Innovative research and therapies: Our team actively studies infant chronic lung disease, working to advance care for these vulnerable babies. We participate in the BPD Collaborative, a multi-institutional research association that aims to improve lifelong health in children with BPD. Our ongoing involvement in research and international collaborations ensures your child receives state-of-the-art care.

What Is Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia?

Infant chronic lung disease, also called bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), affects a baby’s breathing and lung development. “Bronchopulmonary” refers to airways (bronchi) and lungs (pulmonary). “Dysplasia” means abnormal development. So bronchopulmonary dysplasia is the abnormal development of a child’s lungs and lung tissue.

BPD typically affects premature babies or very low-weight babies. Babies with any form of BPD—at any stage of the disease—can benefit from our specialized care.

While BPD is a chronic (long-term) condition, it can get better. Children often outgrow the disease with ongoing treatment to limit BPD’s severity and minimize its effects. Your child will get the expert care needed to manage BPD and other lung problems at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Treating BPD

Premature babies often need breathing support with a ventilator or oxygen since their lungs haven’t fully developed yet. However, breathing support may damage the lungs since the lungs are very fragile. The combination of underdeveloped lungs and the effects of breathing support often results in some degree of bronchopulmonary dysplasia.

Other organs are also fragile due to premature birth and conditions that affect the brain, heart or digestive system can frequently develop in premature babies. These conditions can further impact lung development. But the lungs have great potential to improve and grow with time.

Expert NICCU Care at Children’s Hospital

Babies with BPD need comprehensive support as their entire bodies continue developing. We offer high-quality and experienced care for these critically ill babies in our Level IV Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU). The Level IV designation—the highest rank possible—recognizes our ability to care for babies with the most severe and complex conditions. When your child is ready to leave the NICCU, we ensure a seamless transition to the next phase of care.

Outpatient Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia Clinic

After leaving the hospital, your child receives ongoing care at our outpatient Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia Clinic. Many of our experts work in both the NICCU and the BPD Clinic, so your child can continue seeing familiar specialists. We monitor and treat your child for all ongoing and new complications from BPD. Learn more about our Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia Clinic.

Multidisciplinary Care Team

Children with chronic lung disease, especially those born prematurely, often experience multiple health problems at the same time. Everything in the body is related and connected during this time of development. At CHLA, we bring together a team of specialists to treat the entire body and help achieve your child’s full potential. Meet our team.

Our specialists

Your child receives inpatient and outpatient care from a team of dedicated experts. This team includes: 
•    Neonatal doctors (neonatologists) 
•    Pulmonologists 
•    Heart doctors (cardiologists) 
•    Gastroenterologists 
•    Advanced practice providers 
•    Nurses 
•    Respiratory therapists 
•    Otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat doctors)

Your child and family also receive individualized care and support from:

Infant Chronic Lung Disease Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

We offer specialized care for chronic lung disease in infants, from our state-of-the-art NICCU to our outpatient Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia Clinic. Learn more about our comprehensive management of BPD.