The purpose of this study was to examine lung function and bronchodilator responsiveness in infants with a history of prematurity and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), using the raised volume rapid thoracoabdominal compression technique as well as with whole-body plethysmography. Spirometric measurements were obtained in 28 infants with a history of BPD, defined as preterm birth with O2 requirement at 36 weeks postmenstrual age (gestational age at birth, 26.4 +/- 2.1 weeks, mean +/- SD; birthweight, 898 +/- 353 g; age at study, 68.0 +/- 35.6 weeks). Fractional lung volumes were measured in 27 subjects. Values were expressed as percentage of predicted normal values. Compared to normal infants, those with a history of BPD exhibited decreases in forced expiratory flows including forced expiratory volume in 0.5 sec (76.3 +/- 19.6%), forced expiratory flow at 75% of expired forced vital capacity (FEF75; 59.5 +/- 30.7%), and FEF(25-75) (74.0 +/- 26.8%; P<0.01 for all). Functional residual capacity (107.9 +/- 25.3%), residual volume (RV, 124.5 +/- 42.7%), and RV/total lung capacity (RV/TLC, 128.2 +/- 35.3%) were increased in infants with a history of BPD (P<0.05 for each). There was no difference in TLC between groups. Seventeen infants were studied both pre- and postalbuterol, and 6 (35%) demonstrated significant bronchodilator responsiveness. Infants with recurrent wheezing showed greater expiratory flow limitation, hyperinflation, and airways responsiveness, whereas those without wheezing showed only modest airway dysfunction. We conclude that infants with a history of BPD have pulmonary function abnormalities characterized by mild to moderate airflow obstruction and air trapping.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.