The aim of the study was to determine whether respiratory morbidity, lung function, healthcare utilisation and cost of care at school age in prematurely born children who had bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) were influenced by use of supplementary oxygen at home after neonatal intensive care unit discharge. Healthcare utilisation and cost of care in years 5 to 7 and respiratory morbidity (parent-completed respiratory questionnaire) and lung function measurements at least at age 8 years were assessed in 160 children. Their median gestational age was 27 (range 22-31) weeks and 65 of them had received supplementary oxygen when discharged home (home oxygen group). The home oxygen group had more outpatient attendances (p = 0.0168) and respiratory-related outpatient attendances (p = 0.0032) with greater related cost of care (p = 0.0186 and p = 0.0030, respectively), their cost of care for prescriptions (p = 0.0409) and total respiratory related cost of care (p = 0.0354) were significantly greater. There were, however, no significant differences in cough, wheeze or lung function results between the two groups.
Conclusion: Prematurely born children who had BPD and supplementary oxygen at home after discharge had increased healthcare utilisation at school age. Whether such children require greater follow, in the absence of excess respiratory morbidity, merits investigation.