Article Text


205 Lung Function in Adults Born Preterm - the Helsinki Study of Very Low Birth Weight Adults
  1. M Sipola-Leppänen1,
  2. HK Saarenpää1,
  3. M Tikanmäki1,
  4. P Hovi2,3,
  5. K Wehkalampi2,3,
  6. M Siltanen4,
  7. M Vääräsmäki1,5,
  8. AL Järvenpää2,
  9. JG Eriksson3,6,
  10. S Andersson2,
  11. E Kajantie2,3
  1. 1National Institute for Health and Welfare, Oulu
  2. 2Hospital for Children and Adolescents, Helsinki University Central Hospital
  3. 3National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki
  4. 4Hyvinkää Hospital, Hyvinkää
  5. 5Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu
  6. 6Department of General Practice and Primary Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland


Backround and aims Adolescents born at very low birth weight (< 1500g, VLBW) have higher rates of respiratory symptoms and reduced lung function as compared with those born at term. Only few studies, however, have extended to adult life. We studied the association of preterm birth at VLBW with lung function in young adults.

Methods We used spirometry (Medikro®) to measure pulmonary function in 160 VLBW subjects and in 162 term-born controls (mean age 22.5 years) as a part of the Helsinki Study of Very Low Birth Weight Adults. BPD was diagnosed by a clinician based on Northway’s criteria.

Results Figure 1 shows the mean values and differences in lung function tests between the groups. Forced expired volume in 1 second (FEV1), the FEV1/FVC (forced vital capacity) ratio, peak expiratory flow (PEF), maximal expiratory flow at 25% or 50% (MEF25% and 50%) were lower in adults born at VLBW than in those born at term. This finding was strongest in VLBW adults with a history of BPD but was present also in VLBW adults with no history of BPD.

Abstract 205 Figure 1

The mean difference in lung function test between VLBW adults with or without broncopulmonary dysplasia [BPD] (error bars) and term born controls (zeroline) adjusted for age, sex, height, BMI, parental education, maternal smoking during pregnancy, current daily smoking of the subject, and the frequency of leisure-time conditioning physical activity

The mean difference in lung function test.

Conclusions Reduced FEV1/FVC, PEF and MEF25–50% suggest a medium and small airway obstruction among young adults born at VLBW. While this finding is strongest among BPD survivors, it is present also among VLBW adults with no history of BPD. This may be a risk factor for later obstructive pulmonary disease.

Statistics from

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.