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Neonatal Med > Volume 25(1); 2018 > Article
Neonatal Medicine 2018;25(1):7-15.
DOI:    Published online February 28, 2018.
Outcomes into Adulthood of Survivors Born Either Extremely Low Birthweight or Extremely Preterm.
Lex W Doyle
Research Office, Royal Women's Hospital, Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Victorian Infant Brain Studies, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.
Received: 2 January 2018   • Revised: 21 January 2018   • Accepted: 24 January 2018
We need to understand the outcomes into adulthood for survivors born either extremely low birthweight (ELBW; < 1,000 g) or extremely preterm (EP; < 28 weeks' gestational age), particularly their blood pressure and cardiovascular metabolic status,respiratory function, growth, psychological and mental health performance, and functional outcomes. Blood pressure is higher in late adolescence and early adulthood in ELBW/EP survivors compared with controls. In some studies, expreterm survivors have higher insulin and blood lipid concentrations than controls, which may also increase their risk for later cardiovascular disease. ELBW/EP survivors have more expiratory airflow obstruction than do controls. Those who had bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in the newborn period have even worse lung function than those who did not have BPD. As a group, they are unlikely to achieve their full lung growth potential, which means that more of them are likely to develop chronic obstructive airway disease in later life. Although they are smaller than term born controls, their weight gradually rises and ultimately reaches a mean z-score close to zero in late adolescence, and they ultimately attain a height z-score close to their mid-parental height z-score. On average, ex-preterm survivors have intelligence quotient (IQ) scores and performance on tests of academic achievement approximately 2/3 SD lower than do controls, and they also perform less well on tests of attention and executive function. They have similar high rates of anxiety and depression symptoms in late adolescence as do controls. They are, however, over-represented in population registries for rarer disorders such as schizophrenia and Autism Spectrum Disorder. In cohort studies, ex-preterm survivors mostly report good quality of life and participation in daily activities, and they report good levels of self-esteem. In population studies, they require higher levels of economic assistance, such as disability pensions, they do not achieve education levels as high as controls, fewer are married, and their rates of reproduction are lower, at least in early adulthood. Survivors born ELBW/EP will present more and more to health carers in adulthood, as they survive in larger numbers.
Key Words: Extremely preterm, Extremely low birthweight, Adult, Outcomes


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