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Dokter Emilie GOFFINON

4e année en pédiatrie

Aantal beurzen:
2022-2023, 2023-2024: "Bourse Arthur Forever"

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Long-term management of bronchopulmonary dysplasia: biological, histological, and functional effects of mechanical stretch by non-invasive ventilation on postnatal lung development

Project supervisor

Aline Vuckovic, MD, PhD (Head of Clinic, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Queen Fabiola Children's University Hospital).
Jaan Toelen, MD, PhD (Department of Development and Regeneration, Perinatal & Pediatric Lung Disease Section, KU Leuven)

Labo of hospitaal waar het project plaatsvindt

Laboratory: Department of Development and Regeneration, Perinatal & Pediatric lung disease section, KU Leuven
HUDERF- Hôpital Universitaire des Enfants Reine Fabiola

Objectives of research

This project aims at evaluating the effects of mechanical stretch by chronic NIV on lung development and function in an in vivo model of long-term BPD (part I) and in infants diagnosed with BPD and chronic hypoxemia (part II, pilot clinical trial to evaluate the feasibility of a large-scale randomized controlled trial and the security of the protocol). We hypothesize that NIV, by exerting physical forces on the lung, would stimulate its development, decrease biomarkers of injury, improve cardiorespiratory function, and decrease long-term morbidity due to BPD.


Babies born prematurely have fragile lungs and immature airways that cannot correctly exchange gaz. During their stay at the neonatal intensive care unit, preterm babies need modern equipment to reduced respiratory symptoms and breathe correctly. After return home, some preterm infants still have chronic respiratory symptoms that can extend to adulthood. This disease, called bronchopulmonary dysplasia, can also alter the infant’s growth and development. Some preterm babies have such vulnerable lungs that they still need respiratory support after return home. In that case, some hospitals use nasal cannulas to bring continuous oxygen to the lungs. In other hospitals, infants use a mask on their face and a machine, called non-invasive ventilation, that bring positive pressure to the airways to keep them opened. Currently, no one knows which treatment is the best for a chronic use at home.

The objective of my research is to compare the effects of oxygen therapy and non-invasive ventilation at home for bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Firstly, I will test both treatments in an animal model and determine which strategy will better favor lung growth and development at microscopic, biological, and functional levels. Secondly, I will conduct a clinical study to compare the effects of oxygen therapy and non-invasive ventilation at home in preterm babies with bronchopulmonary dysplasia. I will determine if one of these treatments is superior to reduce hospital readmissions for respiratory infection, improve respiratory function, and stimulate growth and development. These results will hopefully serve to improve the chronic care of children born prematurely and decrease the consequences of such a disease on the child, his/her family, and society.

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