Bronchopulmonary sequestration occurs when a baby is born with an extra piece of pulmonary (lung) tissue. This rare condition is also called pulmonary sequestration. This extra tissue can appear next to a lung (extralobar) or inside a lung (intralobar). About three-fourths of all bronchopulmonary sequestrations are located inside one of the lungs.

The extra piece of lung tissue is made of cysts (sacs of fluid or air). The excess tissue is not needed for the lung to function properly. If the bronchopulmonary sequestration is large or inside the lung, the heart will need to work harder than usual to pump blood to the unneeded, extra lung tissue. Unless removed, large bronchopulmonary sequestrations can lead to health problems, including difficulty breathing, infection or heart failure. If the bronchopulmonary sequestration is small or outside the lung, removing it is not always necessary.

Symptoms of Bronchopulmonary Sequestration

Your OB/GYN will see the extra lung tissue on a prenatal (pregnancy) ultrasound. In some cases, the extra tissue can push the baby’s heart out of its usual position. This unusual positioning can also be seen on an ultrasound.

Babies with bronchopulmonary sequestration may also experience excess fluid buildup during development inside their mother’s womb. This extra fluid buildup, called fetal hydrops, can occur in the baby’s abdomen (belly), lung, scalp or skin. If your baby has fetal hydrops, you may need to visit your obstetrician (pregnancy doctor) more often for frequent prenatal (pregnancy) ultrasounds.

When to see a doctor

If your OB/GYN notices anything out of the ordinary, such as extra lung tissue, on your prenatal ultrasound, they will refer you to a high-risk pregnancy doctor. This doctor will give you more information about your baby’s health and provide more frequent and specialized prenatal ultrasounds.

Causes of Bronchopulmonary Sequestration

This condition occurs during a baby’s development inside their mother, and experts don’t know what causes bronchopulmonary sequestration. This condition does not appear to run in families.

Who’s at risk

There are no known risk factors for this condition.

Request an Appointment

Contact an Orlando Health doctor

If your OB/GYN suspects that your child may have bronchopulmonary sequestration, make an appointment with an Orlando Health maternal-fetal medicine doctor for more specialized testing and care.