Care for pulmonary airway malformations in Denver

Congenital pulmonary airway malformation (CPAM) is a condition affecting the lungs of a fetus. Our expert, high-risk obstetricians, pediatric surgeons and neonatologists at the Center for Maternal Fetal Health at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children (RMHC) are world leaders in the diagnosis and treatment of this rare condition.

In addition, our staff and facility are uniquely equipped to handle the careful treatment of your baby’s health during pregnancy as well as during and after birth.

To learn more about our specialized, expert care, call (720) 754-7642.

About CPAM

CPAM is a condition in which a benign mass grows on a fetus’s lung. The growth does not function as lung tissue and takes the place of normal, healthy tissue. There are three types of CPAM:

  • Type I and Type II CPAM One or more fluid-filled cysts
  • Type III CPAM: A solid mass (and sometimes cysts as well)

This condition is similar to another fetal lung condition, pulmonary sequestration , or BPS, but BPS is unique in that it has an artery directly connecting it to the aorta.

CPAM diagnosis

CPAM typically is diagnosed during the 20-week ultrasound. It is seen as a bright white mass on the lungs. Additionally, the heart may be displaced, the diaphragm may be flattened and healthy lung tissue is decreased.

Treatment of CPAM

Babies diagnosed with CPAM undergo regular ultrasounds from 20 to 30 weeks gestation, checking the size of CPAM. It may get smaller, remain unchanged or even disappear entirely in the third trimester. During this time, doctors are looking for signs of fetal hydrops, a rare but serious complication of CPAM, defined by massive fluid retention. In some cases, the mother “mirrors” this condition and develops preeclampsia.

If fetal hydrops occurs, treatment is necessary during pregnancy. The pediatric surgeons at Rocky Mountain Pediatric Surgery are uniquely qualified to perform such delicate procedures.

Prenatal CPAM treatment may include drainage of the cyst or steroid medications.

Babies who do not develop fetal hydrops can be carried to term without treatment, but should be delivered at a hospital with a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), such as the Level IV NICU at RMHC, equipped to care for a high-risk newborn and any potential complications.

Typically, surgery to remove the growth is scheduled when the baby is several months old. It is important to have the mass removed to prevent lung infections and lower the risk for other complications. Our highly experienced pediatric surgeons of Rocky Mountain Pediatric Surgery are pioneers in minimally invasive surgical techniques and the removal of these abnormal lung lesions using tiny incisions and instruments. They have the largest series of thoracoscopic lobectomies in world. These procedures decrease incision size, pain and recovery.