Treatments

There is no single treatment for chILD and each patient will require a personalized treatment regimen. photo-box006Some common treatments for various forms of chILD include:

Bronchodilators:

If your child has reactive airways (asthma-like symptoms), treatment with bronchodilators, inhaled steroids, or both may help. Bronchodilators help relax the muscles in the airways to improve breathing right away. Inhaled steroids help decrease swelling in the airways over time. They do not improve breathing right away. These drugs are often given using an air compressor and nebulizer (from a durable medical equipment [DME] vendor) or using a metered dose inhaler (puffer) and spacer (from a pharmacy). Both the drugs and supplies need a prescription.

Mucus Clearance:

If your child needs help clearing lung mucus, there are many options:

  • Chest Physical Therapy (CPT or Chest PT) involves putting your child in different positions and clapping your hands on the chest and back over each of the lung areas.
  • Positive Expiratory Pressure (PEP) Therapy employs cycles of abdominal breathing, breaths through a PEP device and coughing or huff coughing.
  • Intrapulmonary Percussive Ventilation (IPV) involves breathing treatments (using a mask, mouthpiece, or tracheostomy tube) using a machine that gives mini-bursts of mist and air.
  • High-Frequency Chest Wall Oscillation uses a machine that sends air pulses to the lungs through tubing attached to a chest vest or wrap. There are even more options than these. Your health team can help you choose the best option for your child, help you get the needed supplies and teach you how to give the treatment.

Synagis:

This is an antibody used in high-risk children to prevent severe cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common virus that can be damaging to the lungs of chILD patients. Children who receive Synagis may still get RSV, but they will not get as sick as if they were not treated at all. This is an expensive treatment and is only approved by insurance under specific circumstances. If your chILD is under 3 and at high risk, your doctor may order this for your child.

Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG):

Some forms of chILD are involved with immune responses. Some forms of chILD will require regular IVIG treatments to stop the progression of fibrosis in the lungs.

Anti-inflammatory drugs (steroids, cytotoxic drugs, immunosuppressive drugs):

Some forms of chILD respond very well to steroids while others do not. Steroids and immunosuppressive drugs can have many side effects. Be sure to consult with an experienced chILD physician about the use of these types of medications in your chILD.

Transplants:

Patients with certain types of chILD may be candidates for a lung or heart-lung transplant. Transplants are more often used with adults than children; but, for some forms of chILD, lung transplants are the only treatment that works.

There are no drugs specifically approved to treat any of the chILD disorders. Most of the treatments above treat the symptoms of chILD and not the underlying cause. We need more research and clinical trials to help us find effective treatments and eventual cures for all forms of chILD.