Late and moderate prematurity may have an impact on pulmonary function during childhood. The present study aimed to investigate lung mechanics in school-age children born moderate-to-late preterm (MLPT).
Children aged 5–10 years were enrolled in this case–control study. Lung function and bronchodilator response were assessed by impulse oscillometry (IOS) at two hospital-based specialized clinics. A structured questionnaire was employed to assess respiratory morbidities.
A total of 123 children was divided into two groups: case (MLPT) n = 52 and control (children born at term) n = 71. The results showed no difference between groups in mean baseline IOS variables: R5 0.80 ± 0.20 vs 0.82 ± 0.22 kPa/L/s, p = 0.594, R20 0.54 ± 0.13 vs 0.55 ± 0.13 kPa/L/s, p = 0.732, R5–R20 0.26 ± 0.12 vs 0.27 ± 0.15 kPa/L/s, p = 0.615, X5 −0.29 ± 0.01 vs −0.29 ± 0.1 kPa/L/s, p = 0.990, Fres 21.1 ± 3.3 vs 21.7 ± 3.1 L/s, p = 0.380, and AX 2.7 ± 3.36 vs 2.5 ± 1.31 kPa/L/s, p = 0.626. Bronchodilator response and the occurrence of respiratory morbidities after birth were also similar between groups.
This study found lung mechanics parameters to be similar in school-age children born MLPT and those born at term, suggesting that pulmonary plasticity continues to occur in children up to school age.
Late and moderate prematurity is associated with an increased risk of reduced pulmonary function during childhood.
Follow-up reports in adolescents and adults born MLPT are scarce but have indicated pulmonary plasticity with normalization of airway function.
Our results show that the lung function in school-age children born MLPT is similar to that of children born at term.
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The authors declare no competing interests.
The children’s caregivers/guardians were informed about the study and, upon agreeing to participate, signed the informed consent form.
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Dantas, F.M.N.A., Magalhães, P.A.F., Hora, E.C.N. et al. Lung mechanics and respiratory morbidities in school-age children born moderate-to-late preterm. Pediatr Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-021-01538-y