Foetal and infant growth patterns, airway resistance and school-age asthma

Respirology. 2016 May;21(4):674-82. doi: 10.1111/resp.12718. Epub 2015 Dec 23.


Background and objective: Preterm birth, low birth weight and rapid infant weight gain are associated with increased risks of asthma symptoms in childhood. The underlying mechanism may include persistently higher airway resistance (Rint). The aim of our study was to examine the associations of longitudinally measured foetal and infant growth characteristics with Rint and asthma outcomes in school-age children.

Methods: This study was embedded in a population-based prospective cohort study in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Foetal growth was estimated by ultrasound in the second and third trimesters. Infant growth was measured at birth, 3, 6 and 12 months. At age 6 years, Rint was measured, and information about wheezing and asthma was obtained by questionnaires. The number of subjects per analysis differed per available outcome (3954-5066 subjects).

Results: Longitudinal growth analyses showed that school-age children with increased Rint had lower foetal length growth and weight gain, and lower infant length growth. Children with persistent wheezing until age 6 years and physician-diagnosed asthma had a higher Rint compared with children who never wheezed or without asthma (difference z-scores Rint: 0.58 (0.19, 0.97) and 0.55 (0.15, 0.95), respectively).

Conclusion: Rint in school-age children is influenced by foetal growth restriction and is associated with asthma outcomes. See article, page 574.

Keywords: asthma; cohort study; foetal growth; infant growth; wheezing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Airway Resistance*
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / physiopathology*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Sounds
  • Risk Factors