Contributions of the NICHD neonatal research network to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of bronchopulmonary dysplasia

Despite improvements in the care and outcomes of infants born extremely preterm, bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) remains a common and frustrating complication of prematurity. This review summarizes the BPD-focused research conducted by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network (NRN). To improve disease classification and outcome prediction, the NRN developed new data-driven diagnostic criteria for BPD and web-based tools that allow clinicians and investigators to reliably estimate BPD risk in preterm infants. Randomized trials of intramuscular vitamin A and prophylactic nasal continuous positive airway pressure conducted by the NRN have contributed to our current use of these therapies as evidence-based approaches to reduce BPD risk. A recent large, randomized trial of hydrocortisone administered beginning between the 2nd and 4th postnatal weeks provided strong evidence that this therapy promotes successful extubation but does not lower BPD rates. Ongoing studies within the NRN will address important, unanswered questions on the risks and benefits of intratracheal surfactant/corticosteroid combinations and treatment versus expectant management of the patent ductus arteriosus to prevent BPD.