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Cardinal Glennon / Services & Programs / Fetal Care Institute / Lungs / Bronchopulmonary Sequestration

Bronchopulmonary Sequestration

Bronchopulmonary sequestration (BPS) is a rare malformation of the lung that occurs before a baby is born. With BPS, a piece of lung tissue develops without being connected to the airways, sometimes inside the lung and sometimes outside of it. This sequestered mass of tissue doesn’t function normally and receives its blood supply from the body’s main artery (aorta), rather than the arteries in the lung.

baby with bps

A graphic of a baby with BPS showing a piece of lung tissue formed outside of the lung and not connected to the airway.

Most times, a BPS does not cause a baby significant problems during development. In rare cases however, it can displace the heart from its normal position and push on the diaphragm. As a result, it’s important to closely monitor a baby with a BPS.

For this reason, many moms come to the SSM Health Cardinal Glennon St. Louis Fetal Care Institute. Here, our leading team of fetal specialists, surgeons and nurses closely follow your baby throughout your pregnancy. Working collaboratively with experts across our hospital, we provide you and your baby complete, timely care, including:

  • Fetal intervention if needed
  • State-of-the-art care after delivery in the NICU
  • Long-term, follow-up care as your baby’s lungs continue to develop

How is a Bronchopulmonary Sequestration Diagnosed and Managed During Pregnancy?

A BPS is typically detected during a routine ultrasound around 20 weeks gestation. It appears as a bright mass on the lung. A series of follow-up ultrasounds will give your physician more information about whether the lung mass is a BPS and its level of severity. Your doctor may also perform a fetal MRI to obtain a more detailed view of the mass, and a fetal echocardiogram (echo) to test for any structural heart defects.

Throughout your pregnancy, we actively monitor you and your baby for any complications. If fetal intervention is not necessary, your baby will be evaluated and treated at delivery.

How is BPS Managed During and After Delivery?

Most babies with a small BPS can be delivered vaginally without any complications. Depending on the size and severity of the BPS, we’ll consider different options to treat the condition either prenatally, or after the birth of your child. We offer an extensive program for lung surgery, using the most advanced, minimally invasive surgical techniques. As a result, the infants we care for experience faster recovery, reduced risk of long-term complications, and smaller scars.

Not all babies with BPS require surgery in the neonatal period. In those cases, your baby can go home with the BPS. Our pediatric surgery department will provide follow-up care for your baby on an outpatient basis and will help determine if and when the BPS should be removed.

Babies with a moderately large BPS may have some difficulty breathing after birth. In this case, your baby will be cared for in our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) until surgery is performed to remove the BPS.

In nearly all cases, babies who receive surgery for BPS go on to develop normally without breathing or heart problems.

If you’re facing a diagnosis, schedule an appointment with us at the Cardinal Glennon St. Louis Fetal Care Institute. We understand that BPS can be a scary diagnosis. That’s why we’re available to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at 314-268-4037 or toll free at 877-SSM-FETL (877-776-3385).

While we can’t change the diagnosis, we can provide you expert care and support, helping your baby get the most out of treatment - and life.

Patient Stories About Bronchopulmonary Sequestration

SSM Health Cardinal Glennon St. Louis Fetal Care Institute Logo

At the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute, we understand the fear and confusion that come with the diganosis of a prenatal medical condition. We share these patient stories to offer comfort, hope, and inspiration from other parents who have been where you are. Know that you are not alone - our team is here to support you every step of the way.

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