Pulmonary outcome and its correlates in school-aged children born with a gestational age ≤ 32 weeks

Respir Med. 2013 Dec;107(12):1966-76. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2013.06.020. Epub 2013 Jul 20.


Background: There is limited data regarding factors influencing the respiratory outcome at school age of ex-preterms born since the introduction of antenatal steroids, surfactant replacement together with less aggressive ventilation.

Objectives: To establish the main antenatal, neonatal and early childhood respiratory correlates of respiratory status in school-aged children born at ≤ 32 weeks of gestation.

Methods: Ex-preterm children born at ≤ 32 weeks of gestation between 1997 and 2001 at Bordeaux University Hospital were evaluated at school age, using a respiratory questionnaire and lung function tests (spirometry, plethysmography, exercise challenge test and CO lung diffusing capacity DLCO measurements). Factors associated with lung function were investigated using polynomial regression analyses.

Results: Of the 151 included children [mean age: 8.6 ± 0.8 years; mean gestational age, 30.1 ± 1.7 weeks; mean birth weight = 1310 ± 380 g; 68.2% ventilated at birth; 46.4% treated with surfactant; 36.4% with prior bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)], 47% presented obstructive lung abnormalities, 11% restrictive or mixed lung abnormalities, 41% exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, and 15.5% reduced DLCO. Surfactant therapy was independently associated with a lower risk of lung abnormalities (p < 0.05). The association between BPD and lung abnormalities at school age was not significant, but prior BPD increased the risk of restrictive or mixed abnormalities (odds ratio: 6.11, confidence interval [1.1; 33.99]). Early childhood respiratory events were not associated with the occurrence of lung abnormalities.

Conclusion: Children born at ≤ 32 weeks of gestation remain at risk for impaired lung function at school age in particular when they did not receive surfactant. Restrictive or mixed lung defects are mainly associated with prior BPD.

Keywords: Bronchopulmonary dysplasia; Children; Lung function tests; Mid term outcome; Premature birth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / physiopathology
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / therapeutic use
  • Respiration Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Sounds / physiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Steroids / therapeutic use


  • Pulmonary Surfactants
  • Steroids