Congenital pulmonary malformations are rare birth defects that affect your baby’s lungs while he is still in the womb. Learn about common types of congenital pulmonary malformations.

What are Congenital Pulmonary Malformations?

Congenital pulmonary malformations (also called congenital pulmonary airway malformations or congenital lung malformations) are different types of rare birth defects. In most cases, only one lung will be affected. Most malformations are not dangerous.

What are the Most Common Types of Congenital Pulmonary Malformations?

The most common congenital pulmonary malformation is a bronchogenic cyst (fluid-filled sac or bubble) on the lung. Other common types include:

  • Congenital pulmonary airway malformations (CPAM). This is when your baby’s lungs have a defect in growth. The extra tissue can be one solid mass or made up of many cysts.
  • Pulmonary sequestrations are solid masses of extra lung tissue that do not connect to any of the airways in the lungs.
  • Lobar emphysema is a rare, but serious condition in which air can enter part of the lung but it cannot exit as easily. This can cause the lungs to grow larger than usual.

What Causes Congenital Pulmonary Malformations?

Doctors are not sure what causes congenital pulmonary malformations. Most cases happen at random. They are not anyone’s fault.

What are the Symptoms of Congenital Pulmonary Malformations?

Most symptoms of congenital pulmonary malformations appear after birth. Common symptoms include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble gaining weight
  • Frequent or long-lasting chest infections
  • Wheezing (whistling sound when breathing)
  • Painful breathing

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Rev. 2/2018. MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.