Friday, February 25, 2011

Chronic Lung Disease: Educating and Preparing

Chronic Lung Disease (CLD) is a scary term. CLD is a term that has cropped up quite a few times in my personal vocabulary during these last 2 weeks here in the NICU. The doctors taking care of the girls have never mentioned it but I have asked anyway knowing all too well that doctors keep a boat load of information to themselves until the very last minute. I prefer to be prepared and educated for any and all possible complications from my girls' early arrival into this world. Considering their lung issues and recent bouts with P.I.E I am beginning to suspect that dealing with CLD as an after effect is a real and likely possibility.

So what is Chronic Lung Disease and what are it's causes?
Simply put CLD is a very general term describing long term respiration issues in premature babies. CLD is the result of damaged lung tissue most often from ventilator use. Damage to lung tissue can cause scarring which in turn makes breathing difficult and increases a babies need for oxygen. In addition to ventilator and oxygen use, premature lungs and low levels of surfactant (a substance in the lungs that help the air sacs open) can cause CLD. 

Who is most affected by CLD?

  1. birth at less than 30 weeks gestation
  2. birth weight less than 1,000 (less than 2 pounds) to 1,500 grams (3 pounds 5 ounces)
  3. hyaline membrane disease - lung disease of prematurity due to lack of surfactant that does not show the usual improvement by the third or fourth day.
  4. pulmonary interstitial emphysema (PIE) - a problem in which air leaks out of the airways into the spaces between the small air sacs of the lungs.
  5. patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) - a connection between the blood vessels of the heart and lungs that does not close as it should after birth.
  6. premature Caucasian, male babies are at greater risk for developing BPD
  7. maternal womb infection (chorioamnionitis)
  8. a family history of asthma
  9. breathing problems at birth
  10. develop an infection during or shortly after birth
In my girls' cases they have 7 of the 10 causal factors, the first 5 in the above list. As a result I am educating and mentally preparing myself for the highly likely chance that CLD will be one of the challenges we will face with these girls once we leave the NICU and return to the real world. What CLD will look like for us in the real world is still a mystery but I know we will get through it and persevere. This is just another reason why I am thankful we homeschool. Keeping my older kids at home and away from the germs spread so rampantly through public schools will ultimately help protect my twins from CLD complications and lung infections.


  1. Alexis thanks for stopping by my blog.
    You have twins? Oh my goodness!
    A dear friend of ours little girl was born at 26 weeks and weighed 1 lb. 6 oz.
    I can only imagine what you are going through.
    Our friends dear little girl is now 15 months old and doing quite well.
    My prayers are with you and your precious daughters!

  2. Chronic lung disease is a condition in which damaged tissue in a newborn baby's lungs causes breathing and health problems. The lungs trap air or collapse, fill with fluid, and produce extra mucus. Most babies who have chronic lung disease survive. And many children outgrow most of their lung problems. Chronic lung disease is also known as bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).

    baby lung defect