Acta Clin Croat. 2016 Mar;55(1):58-62. doi: 10.20471/acc.2016.55.01.9.


Results of the first research of this kind on the 23-year long-term outcome in children born during the war in Vukovar are presented. This retrospective clinical study surveyed the potential 23-year long-term consequences and morbidity of children born between May 1, 1991 and November 19, 1991, during the siege and occupation of Vukovar. Data were obtained from women having delivered their babies in that period and from delivery protocols of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vukovar County Hospital. According to the survey and the data collected, there were 9 (3.98%) preterm deliveries, 60 (81%) of the total of 77 subjects were breastfed, 14 (19%) were not breastfed, while three babies died in the postpartum period. However, the breastfeeding period was evidently shorter, as only 10 women breastfed for a period longer than 6 months, while the mean length of the breastfeeding period was 9.9 weeks, i.e. 2.5 months. Allergy-related illnesses and proneness to infections in childhood and preschool age were found in 27.3% and 16.9% of children, respectively, while two children developed diabetes type 1. One child had atopic diathesis, two started speaking after the age of two, one child started walking late (after 20 months) and started speaking after the age of two, one child had loud sound phobia, and one used to overreact and express anger in inconvenient situations, all of them being of female gender and born prematurely. Cognitive and attention disorders and stress reactions were found in 6.5% of the children. Regular elementary school education was completed by 74 (96%) children, while three (3.8%) children experienced failure at school due bad behavior, i.e. delinquency. At the age of 23, 34 (46%) children had developed bad habits, i.e. 33 of them smoked, 2 were addicted to alcohol, whereas one was addicted to both smoking and alcohol. Forty (54%) subjects did not use any harmful substances. Psychiatric disorders related to anxiety, depression or other illnesses were not found in this research. In conclusion, it should be noted that pregnant women who gave birth during the study period spent the first trimester of their pregnancy in a relatively peaceful pre-war period without acute stressors, so the long-term results and morbidity actually did not differ from those in the general population. The most important isolated risk factor was premature delivery with the known short-term and long-term consequences typical for premature delivery (perinatal mortality, slow neuromotor and cognitive development).

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Croatia / epidemiology
  • Delivery, Obstetric / statistics & numerical data
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infections / epidemiology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Warfare
  • Young Adult