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Acta Paediatr. 1996 Jul;85(7):772-7.

Respiratory morbidity in preschool children born prematurely. Relationship to adverse neonatal events.

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Department of Child Health, King's College Hospital, London, UK.


Respiratory morbidity, recurrent cough and/or wheeze and lung function abnormalities are common even outside infancy in preschool children born prematurely. Throughout the first 5 years of life, adverse neonatal events such as immaturity at birth and a requirement for prolonged respiratory support are significantly associated with positive symptom status. In the older preschool child, however, there is some evidence to suggest that other factors, such as a family history of atopy, may be equally important. The development of recurrent symptoms even at 4 years of age can be predicted accurately from the results of lung function measurements made in infancy, and hopefully such data will facilitate the introduction of effective intervention strategies. Lung function abnormalities are more marked in symptomatic patients and, in older children, seem to reflect increased airway responsiveness rather than having a significant relationship to adverse neonatal events. The hospital readmission rate for respiratory disorders, however, is certainly adversely affected by extremely low birthweight and neonatal chronic lung disease, as well as current symptom status. These data highlight that strategies to reduce extremely premature delivery and its consequences should favourably influence respiratory morbidity in preschool children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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