Objectives: To compare lung function of extremely preterm (EP)-born infants with and without bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) with that of healthy term-born infants, and to determine which perinatal characteristics were associated with lung function at term and how predictive these measurements were for later respiratory health in EP-born infants.
Methods: Perinatal variables were recorded prospectively, and tidal breathing parameters were measured at term-equivalent age using electromagnetic inductance plethysmography. Respiratory morbidity was defined by hospital readmissions and/or treatment with asthma medications during the first year of life.
Results: Fifty-two EP-born infants (mean gestational age 261, range 226-276 weeks) and 45 term-born infants were included. There was evidence of significant airway obstruction, higher tidal volumes and increased minute ventilation in the EP-born infants with and without BPD, although generally more pronounced for those with BPD. Male gender, antenatal steroids and number of days on continuous positive airway pressure were associated with lung function outcomes at term. A prediction model incorporating two unrelated tidal breathing parameters, BPD, birth weight z-score and gender, predicted respiratory morbidity in the first year of life with good accuracy (area under the curve 0.818, sensitivity and specificity 81.8% and 75.0%, respectively).
Conclusion: Lung function measured at term-equivalent age was strikingly abnormal in EP-born infants, irrespective of BPD. Tidal breathing parameters may be of value in predicting future pulmonary health in infants born premature.
Trial registration number: NCT01150396; Results.
Keywords: bronchopulmonary dysplasia; lung disease; lung function test; prematurity; tidal breathing.
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