Objective: To investigate the relationship between disturbed lung function and large-artery hemodynamics in school-age children born extremely preterm (EP) (at 25 completed weeks of gestation or less).
Study design: This was a cross-sectional study of participants from the EPICure study, now aged 11 years (n = 66), and 86 age- and sex-matched term-born classmates. Spirometry parameters (including forced expiratory volume in 1 second), blood pressure, and augmentation index (AIx, a composite of arterial stiffness and global wave reflections) were measured.
Results: Compared with their classmates, the EP children had significantly impaired lung function, particularly those with neonatal bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Peripheral blood pressure did not differ significantly between the 2 groups, but AIx values were on average 5% higher (95% CI, 2%-8%) in the preterm infants, remaining significant after adjustment for potential confounders. Neonatal bronchopulmonary dysplasia status was not related to AIx. Lung function and maternal smoking were independently associated with AIx; AIx increased by 2.7% per z-score reduction in baseline forced expiratory volume in 1 second and by 4.9% in those whose mothers smoked during pregnancy.
Conclusion: The independent association between impaired lung function and cardiovascular physiology in early adolescence implies higher cardiovascular risk for children born EP, and suggests that prevention of chronic neonatal lung disease may be a priority in reducing later cardiovascular risk in preterm infants.
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