Skip to content

Alveolar Simplification

What is alveolar simplification? 

Lungs start to develop early in pregnancy. They continue to grow during childhood and don’t stop until adulthood. It is important that the airways, air sacs, and blood vessels are lined up in the right way. See the section on normal lung development to learn more. 

Alveolar simplification happens when the lungs do not develop normally. The structure of the air sacs is abnormal. They may be too big or there may not be enough. This makes it harder for the lungs to move oxygen to the body. This can also be called alveolar growth abnormality. 

Babies with alveolar simplification can have trouble breathing. They can have low oxygen levels. Children with mild alveolar simplification may just have trouble breathing with illness. 



Treatment of alveolar simplification is to support breathing. Babies might need help with oxygen or positive pressure. They may only need help during illness or with sleep. Nutrition is important to help babies (and their lungs) grow. 

What does alveolar simplification mean for my child?

Each baby is different. They can have mild problems that just need oxygen when sick. They may need oxygen and positive pressure all of the time. Your medical team will help you learn what your baby needs.

What to watch out for:

  • If your child is working hard to breathe, talk to a health care provider. If possible. ask to see a lung specialist who is experienced with these conditions.
  • Try to prevent infections from common childhood illnesses. Wash your hands often and ask your friends and family to let you know if they are sick before they are around your child.

Get your child’s vaccines and yearly flu shot.

Sign Up on our website for information about events and to communicate with other families.

Author(s): Reviewer(s): Version: