Respiratory function in healthy late preterm infants delivered at 33-36 weeks of gestation

J Pediatr. 2013 Mar;162(3):464-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.09.042. Epub 2012 Nov 6.


Objective: To compare pulmonary function testing including respiratory compliance (Crs) and time to peak tidal expiratory flow to expiratory time (TPTEF:TE) at term corrected age in healthy infants born at 33-36 weeks of gestation versus healthy infants delivered at term.

Study design: We performed a prospective cohort study of late preterm infants born at 33-36 weeks without clinical respiratory disease (<12 hours of >0.21 fraction of inspired oxygen) and studied at term corrected age. The comparison group was term infants matched for race and sex to the preterm infants and studied within 72 hours of delivery. Crs was measured with the single breath occlusion technique. A minimum of 50 flow-volume loops were collected to estimate TPTEF:TE.

Results: Late preterm infants (n = 31; mean gestational age 34.1 weeks, birth weight 2150 g) and 31 term infants were studied at term corrected age. The late preterm infants had decreased Crs (1.14 vs 1.32 mL/cm H(2)O/kg; P < .02) and decreased TPTEF:TE (0.308 vs 0.423; P < .01) when compared with the term infants. Late preterm infants also had an increased respiratory resistance (0.064 vs 0.043 cm H(2)O/mL/s; P < .01).

Conclusions: Healthy late preterm infants (33-36 weeks of gestation) studied at term corrected age have altered pulmonary function when compared with healthy term infants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung Compliance / physiology*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiration*
  • Respiratory Function Tests