Study from Japan Shows Mortality Associated with Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia has Decreased


Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is a rare condition that primarily affects the lungs of premature babies (though it can affect full term newborns as well). Most children with BPD are born a minimum of 10 weeks before their due date and typically weigh 2 pounds or less. It happens when children are given a large amount of supplemental oxygen for a long amount of time due to underdeveloped lungs.
Many individuals improve as time goes on but some need long-term oxygen support. Symptoms of BPD include-
  • A blue skin tone
  • Rapid breathing
  • Flaring nostrils
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Issues feeding

The Study 

This study included data from 19,370 newborns who had been born between 22 and 27 weeks. All children were born in a hospital within the Neonatal Research Network of Japan. The data was collected between the years of 2003 and 2016.
Researchers investigated both the prevalence of BPD and the overall survival rate at 36 weeks postmenstrual age (PMA). Additionally, they documented potential risk factors for BPD.
  • 11.6% patients passed away by the time they were 36 weeks PMA (time in the womb and time since birth)
  • Mortality rate went from  19% to 8% in thirteen years (2003 to 2016)
  • Of the 17,126 individuals who survived, 45.5% developed BPD
  • BPD increased over the thirteen year period (41.4% to 52%)
  • Positive association between BPD and-
    • at least 4 weeks of supplemental oxygen or ventilation
    • 750g or smaller birth weight
    • at least 4 weeks of noninvasive positive pressure ventilation
    • a gestational age of less than 26 weeks
    • fewer than 20 cases annually of center patient volume

Overall, this study has shown two important things. Firstly, the rate of mortality for preterm children has decreased overtime. However, BPD has grown in prevalence in the timeframe of this study. This shows that there is either a difference in the population of patients over time that has not been accounted for, or that different therapies or forms of care have had an impact on BPD development. Either way, it is clear that further research is needed.

You can read more about this study here.

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