These are the major complications/conditions premature babies face whilst in NICU. My son had a PDA which was closed with medication, Chronic Lung Disease which saw him on oxygen for 3 months & an also an inguinal hernia which was operated on just before discharge.
- persistent ductus arteriosus (PDA), which is a blood vessel near the heart that normally closes after birth, but which can stay open, especially in premature babies. Many times, a PDA needs to be closed, either with medications or if that doesn’t work, then with surgery.
- intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), which is bleeding in the brain and which can be discovered during routine head ultrasounds. Most bleeding occurs in the first few days of life, and except for larger bleeds (grades 3 or 4), many do not cause any long term problems.
- periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), which is a sign brain damage.
- infections, because they also have immature immune systems
- necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which is an inflammation of the intestines that usually doesn’t occur until after feedings have been begun. Treatments, depending on how severe it is, can include antibiotics, intravenous nutrition and sometimes surgery.
- retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), which are abnormal blood vessels in the eyes of premature babies and which will be followed by an ophthalmologist.
- apnea and bradycardia (A & Bs) or apnea of prematurity, which occurs when their immature respiratory and nervous system cause them to stop breathing for short periods of time and for their heart rate to drop. This may be treated with stimulation, medications, CPAP, oxygen and/or by being on a ventilator, depending on how often and how long the periods of apnea are.
- anemia or low blood counts, which sometimes require blood transfusions.
- bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) or chronic lung disease (CLD) is diagnosed in babies who still need oxygen after they are four weeks old and/or at 36 weeks gestation. They may need long term treatment with oxygen and medications, including diuretics, bronchodilators and/or steroids and will probably need more calories than infants without BPD.
- premature babies are also at increased risk for inguinal hernias and hydroceles.
Information from www.keepkidshealthy.com