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J Pediatr. 2019 May;208:96-103.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2018.12.061. Epub 2019 Feb 4.

Cardiac Autonomic Function in Adults Born Preterm.

Author information

1
Department of Chronic Disease Prevention, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Oulu and Helsinki, Finland; Research Unit for Pediatrics, Pediatric Neurology, Pediatric Surgery, Child Psychiatry, Dermatology, Clinical Genetics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Otorhinolaryngology and Ophthalmology (PEDEGO), Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland. Electronic address: risto.karvonen@thl.fi.
2
Department of Chronic Disease Prevention, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Oulu and Helsinki, Finland; Research Unit for Pediatrics, Pediatric Neurology, Pediatric Surgery, Child Psychiatry, Dermatology, Clinical Genetics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Otorhinolaryngology and Ophthalmology (PEDEGO), Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland; Institute of Health Sciences, Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; Department of Pediatrics and Adolescence, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland.
3
Research Unit of Internal Medicine, Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland.
4
Department of Chronic Disease Prevention, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Oulu and Helsinki, Finland; Research Unit for Pediatrics, Pediatric Neurology, Pediatric Surgery, Child Psychiatry, Dermatology, Clinical Genetics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Otorhinolaryngology and Ophthalmology (PEDEGO), Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland; Institute of Health Sciences, Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
5
Institute of Health Sciences, Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; Department of Children and Families, Oulu and Helsinki, Finland; Biocenter Oulu, Oulu, Finland; Unit of Primary Care Unit, Oulu, Finland; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London, Medical Research Council Health Protection Agency Center for Environment and Health, School of Public Health, London, United Kingdom.
6
Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, Helsinki, Finland; Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland.
7
Research Unit for Pediatrics, Pediatric Neurology, Pediatric Surgery, Child Psychiatry, Dermatology, Clinical Genetics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Otorhinolaryngology and Ophthalmology (PEDEGO), Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland; Department of Children and Families, Oulu and Helsinki, Finland.
8
Department of Chronic Disease Prevention, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Oulu and Helsinki, Finland; Research Unit for Pediatrics, Pediatric Neurology, Pediatric Surgery, Child Psychiatry, Dermatology, Clinical Genetics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Otorhinolaryngology and Ophthalmology (PEDEGO), Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland; Hospital of Children and Adolescents, Helsinki University Hospital and University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland; Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate cardiac autonomic function in adults born preterm.

STUDY DESIGN:

We studied the association between prematurity and cardiac autonomic function using heart rate variability measurements in 600 adults (mean age of 23.3 years) from a geographically based cohort in Northern Finland. There were 117 young adults born early preterm (<34 weeks), 207 born late preterm (34-36 weeks), and 276 born at term (≥37 weeks, controls). Autonomic function was analyzed by calculating time and frequency domain heart rate variability measurements using linear regression.

RESULTS:

Compared with controls, the mean difference in root mean square of successive differences (indicating cardiac vagal activity) was -12.0% (95% CI -22.2%, -0.5%, adjusted for sex, age, source cohort, and season P = .04) for the early preterm group and -7.8% (-16.8%, 2.0%, P = .12) for the late preterm group. Mean differences with controls in low frequency power (indicating cardiac vagal activity, including some sympathetic- and baroreflex-mediated effects) were -13.6% (-26.7%, 1.8%, P = .08) for the early preterm group and -16.4% (-27.0%, -4.3%, P = .01) for the late preterm group. Mean differences in high frequency power (quantifying cardiac vagal modulation in respiratory frequency) were -19.2% (-36.6%, 2.9%, P = .09) for the early preterm group and -13.8% (-29.4%, 5.3%, P = .15) for the late preterm group. Differences were attenuated when controlled for body mass index and physical activity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our results suggest altered autonomic regulatory control in adults born preterm, including those born late preterm. Altered autonomic regulatory control may contribute to increased cardiovascular risk in adults born preterm.

KEYWORDS:

autonomic control; birth weight; gestational age; heart rate variability; parasympathetic; premature birth; sympathetic

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