Author(s): Valentina Fainardi, Eleonora Sapienza, Elisabetta Teopompi, Giovanna Pisi, Cinzia Magnani
Background.Preterm babies born Small for Gestational Age (SGA) may have a higher risk of developing respiratory deficiencies.
Objective.To investigate lung function by Impulse Oscillometry System (IOS) in school-aged children born preterm with a very low birth weight (≤1500 g) and considering birth weight (BW) as Appropriate for Gestational Age (AGA) or SGA.
Methods.29 school-aged children (10 M, mean age 7.9±0.7 yrs) born preterm with VLBW performed pre and post bronchodilator (200 μg salbutamol) IOS to assess respiratory resistance at 5 and 20 Hz (R5 and R20). Physical examination and respiratory health questionnaires were completed.
Results.No differences were reported in mechanical ventilation and surfactant or oxygen administration between the 2 groups. Physical examination was unremarkable in all subjects, but one who had wheezing. History of wheezing was reported in 6 children regardless of BW. Children born SGA (n 10, 5 M; gestational age, GA 30.9±1.35 wk; BW 1163±254 g; SDS score -1.91±0.51) showed increased R5 (1.00±0.22 vs 0.81±0.19 kPa/(L/s); p 0.022), but not R20 (0.62±0.16 vs 0.57±0.13 kPa/(L/s); p 0.405), and greater R5-R20 values (0.38±0.15 vs 0.24±0.11; p 0.006) than children born AGA (n 19, 5 M, GA 28.5±2.4 wk; BW 1191±263 g; SDS score -0,30±0,81). All children showed a significant bronchodilator response for R5 and R5-R20 with a decrease respectively of 14% and 23% (p <0.01 for all comparisons). Conclusions.Compared to preterm children born AGA, children born SGA show higher resistance at 5 Hz with greater R5-R20, suggesting small airways impairment. A birth weight SGA may be a further risk of developing respiratory abnormalities in preterm children.