Background: Early term-born (37-38 weeks' gestation) infants have increased respiratory morbidity during the neonatal period compared with full term-born (39-42 weeks' gestation) infants, but longer-term respiratory morbidity remains unclear.
Objective: We assessed whether early term-born children have greater respiratory symptoms and health care use in childhood compared with full term-born children.
Methods: We surveyed 1- to 10-year-old term-born children (n = 13,361). Questionnaires assessed respiratory outcomes with additional data gathered from national health databases.
Results: Of 2,845 eligible participants, 545 were early term-born and 2,300 were full term-born. Early term-born children had higher rates of admission to the neonatal unit (odds ratio [OR], 1.7; 95% CI, 1.2-2.5) and admission to the hospital during their first year of life (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.2-2.1). Forty-eight percent of early term-born children less than 5 years old reported wheeze ever compared with 39% of full term-born children (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1-1.9), and 26% versus 17% reported recent wheezing (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.3-2.4). Early term-born children older than 5 years reported higher rates of wheeze ever (OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.05-1.8) and recent wheezing over the last 12 months than full-term control subjects (OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.02-2.0). Increased rates of respiratory symptoms in early term-born children persisted when family history of atopy and delivery by means of cesarean sections were included in logistic regression models.
Conclusion: Early term-born children had significantly increased respiratory morbidity and use of health care services when compared with full term-born children, even when stratified by mode of delivery and family history of atopy.
Keywords: Cesarean section; asthma; atopy; bronchodilators; gestational age; wheezing.
Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.