October 08, 2012
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Infants born prematurely at increased risk for respiratory disease

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Infants who were born prematurely were at increased risk for having respiratory distress syndrome and were more prone to chronic respiratory problems later on, according to study data published online.

Adrian R. Levy, PhD, of Oxford Outcomes in Vancouver, and colleagues reported on data from a study in Quebec, where the researchers analyzed 7,488 premature babies born in 1996 and 1997.

The researchers said 6.1% of late preterm babies had respiratory distress syndrome symptoms and 7% had lower respiratory tract infections in infancy.

The researchers noted other risk factors associated with respiratory distress syndrome, including “male sex, or diagnosis of other respiratory conditions, diaphragm anomalies, bacteremia, intraventricular hemorrhage, congenital heart disease or respiratory system anomalies,” according to the study findings.

Levy and colleagues reported that late preterm infants “may benefit from interventions decreasing the risk of contracting respiratory viruses causing acute [lower respiratory tract infections].”

The researchers urged study into strategies that would decrease the risk and burden of severe lower respiratory tract infections in infancy among late preterm infants, particularly those with a history of respiratory distress syndrome. They noted some study limitations, specifically that they could measure oxygen use in the babies, and that there was the potential for misclassification of respiratory distress syndrome.

Disclosure: The study was supported by Abbott. Levy reports no relevant financial disclosures.