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Versicherungsmedizin. 2012 Dec 1;64(4):172-7.

[Risk assessment of pre-term infants].

[Article in German]

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Abteilung Medizinische Beratung, ERGO Versicherungsgruppe AG, Köln.


Pre-term birth occurs when a baby is born before 37 weeks of gestation are completed. Many recent publications on neurodevelopmental and somatic outcome parameters of premature infants are of interest for insurance medicine. Infants born before the 28th week are called extremely pre-term. When examined at five years, 85% had already received or still needed special treatment or support. The results of examinations in early childhood have quite a low predictive value for the further development of the child. In the very and moderately pre-term stages, long-term risks are continuously declining with the length of gravidity. Even "late pre-term" birth (34 to 36 weeks of gestation) is associated with a nearly doubled rate of developmental impairment and chronic disease in childhood and adolescence. Various studies performed in early adulthood showed that former pre-term infants suffered more often from asthma and psychiatric disorders. On average, they also had higher blood pressure, lower insulin sensitivity, and a reduced exercise capacity. It remains to be evaluated how much these risk factors contribute to cardiovascular or pulmonary morbidity and mortality later in life. At least, general mortality after preterm birth seems to be increased up to the oldest age group statistically evaluated up to now, i.e. 18 to 36 years.

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