Premature babies may need a
breathing machine (ventilator) and extra oxygen to breathe. Chronic lung disease
happens when a breathing machine or oxygen injures a premature baby’s lungs. The
lungs of premature babies are very fragile. They can be damaged easily.
With a lung injury, the tissues
inside your baby’s lungs get inflamed. The tissue can break down, causing scarring.
The scarring can cause trouble breathing, and your baby may need more oxygen. Lung
injury may be caused by:
Prematurity. A premature baby’s lungs aren’t fully formed. The
air sacs are the least developed.
amounts of surfactant. This is a substance in the lungs that
helps keep the tiny air sacs open.
use. High amounts of oxygen can harm the cells in the
Breathing machine (mechanical ventilation). Air pressure can
harm the lungs. This pressure may come from breathing machines, suctioning of
the airways, and use of an endotracheal (ET) tube. An ET tube is a tube placed
in your baby’s windpipe (trachea) and connected to a breathing machine.