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Chronic lung disease - complications of neonatal intensive care

When newborn babies require extra oxygen if they are born anytime after 36 weeks after conception, they are considered to have chronic lung disease. The disease is a result of premature lung development and the amount of time a baby spends receiving respiratory support such as breathing machine support and extra oxygen, which can also damage the lungs.

Chronic lung disease is associated with increased days in the hospital, and poor growth and outcome. It is one possible complication of premature birth or very low birth weight. Unfortunately, it is not usually possible to avoid this complication when babies are born too young or too small.

About this measure

This measure tracks the percentage of very low birth weight (3 pounds, 3 ounces or less) treated in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) who also develop chronic lung disease. Because the number of infants in this group is very small, a single complication can affect the overall complication rate measurably.

We track this measure through our participation in the Vermont Oxford Network (VON), a voluntary non-profit organization of over 700 neonatal intensive care units. VON is a collaboration dedicated to improving the quality and safety of the care delivered in neonatal intensive care units.

Note: In this case, a lower number is better.