Objective: The aim of this study was to assess pulmonary function and its predictors in very low birth weight (birth weight ≤1,500 g) children (VLBWc) with or without bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), born at gestational age ≤32 weeks at a single tertiary center during 1996-1999, after the introduction of surfactant therapy.
Methods: Of the 120 surviving VLBW children, 48 (40%) VLBWc (22 with prior-BPD) at age 8.5 ± 1.0 years and 46 age-matched controls (8.8 ± 1.4 years) born at term, underwent lung function study.
Results: Adjusted values (z-score) of forced vital capacity (z-FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1 sec (z-FEV1), forced expiratory flow 25-75% (z-FEF25-75), carbon monoxide lung diffusion capacity (z-DLCO), and DLCO/alveolar volume (z-DLCO/VA) were significantly lower than controls (mean difference, 95% CI: -1.35, -1.81 to -0.90, P < 0.001; -1.31, -1.73 to -0.90, P < 0.001; -0.87, -1.29 to -0.46, P < 0.001; -0.98, -1.72 to -0.23, P < 0.001; -0.70, -1.22 to -0.18, P < 0.05; respectively). Residual volume (z-RV) and RV/total lung capacity (RV/TLC) ratio (%) were significantly higher in VLBWc than controls (mean difference, 95% CI: 1.06, 0.44 to 1.68, P < 0.001; 9.54%, 5.73 to 13.3%, P < 0.001; respectively). No differences were found in lung function between VLBWc (no-BPD vs. BPD) with the exception of a significant higher RV/TLC ratio in the BPD-subgroup (mean difference, 95% CI: 7.0%, 0.4 to 13%, P = 0.03). Lung function abnormalities were found in 30 (63%) VLBWc with evidence of airway obstruction and diffusing capacity impairment. A weak relationship was observed between gestational age with z-FVC (r = 0.30, P = 0.04), birth weight with z-FEV1 (r = 0.30, P = 0.04) and RV/TLC ratio (r = -0.49, P = 0.001). The duration of oxygen treatment correlated negatively with the z-DLCO/Va (r = -0.5, P = 0.02). No differences were found in FeNO levels between VLBWc and controls.
Conclusion: VLBWc at school age showed lung function abnormalities characterized by airway obstruction, hyperinflation, and diffusion impairment. Neonatal lung damage together with preterm birth may play a role in worsening the functional respiratory outcome.
Keywords: bronchopulmonary dysplasia; chronic lung disease; lung function; prematurity.
Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.