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Symptomatic preterm infants suffer from lung function deficits, regardless of bronchopulmonary dysplasia

Publication at First Faculty of Medicine, Second Faculty of Medicine |


BACKGROUND: The long-term respiratory consequences for children with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) are well known. However, there is little emphasis on monitoring preterm infants without BPD.

Few studies have explored the lung function status of infants with the symptoms of chronic lung disease of prematurity (CLD). OBJECTIVE: To evaluate functional lung deficits in preterm infants with CLD, and to assess the perinatal determinants of diminished lung function.

METHODS: In our cross-sectional study, 132 preterm infants with symptomatic CLD underwent infant pulmonary function testing (iPFT) at a median post-term age of 0.9 years. The iPFT included bodypletysmography, compliance measurement, tidal breath analysis, and rapid thoracoabdominal compression.

The relationships between the respective z scores of the iPFT parameters to perinatal characteristics, postnatal treatment, and BPD status were investigated. RESULTS: 73 patients (55.3%) were born before the 28(th) week of gestation, and 92 (69.7%) met the BPD criteria.

Functional deficits were detected in 85.8%. The obstructive ventilatory pattern was more prevalent than restrictive (36.3 vs 12.4%, p < 0.001).

Infants with restriction had lower birth weight and required a longer duration of oxygenotherapy. In a univariate model, the lung function correlated with the duration of invasive mechanical ventilation, gestational week, and birth weight.

In a general linear model, BPD status was not an additional determinant of the iPFT results. CONCLUSION: IPFT may reveal significant functional deficits in preterm infants with CLD even without BPD.

The current symptoms and perinatal factors may be more important determinants of functional deficits than the BPD status itself.