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Effect of preterm birth on later FEV1: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  1. Sarah J Kotecha1,
  2. Martin O Edwards1,
  3. W John Watkins1,
  4. A John Henderson3,
  5. Shantini Paranjothy2,
  6. Frank D Dunstan2,
  7. Sailesh Kotecha1
  1. 1Department of Child Health, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  2. 2Cochrane Institute of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  3. 3School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Sailesh Kotecha, Department of Child Health, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XN, UK; Kotechas{at}


Background Increasing evidence suggests that preterm birth affects later lung function. We systematically reviewed the literature to determine whether percentage predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 s (%FEV1) is lower in later life in preterm-born subjects, with or without bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), compared with term-born controls.

Methods Studies reporting %FEV1, with or without a term-born control group, in later life for preterm-born subjects (<37 weeks gestation) were extracted from eight databases. Data were analysed using Review Manager and STATA. The quality of the studies was assessed.

Results From 8839 titles, 1124 full articles were screened and 59 were included: 28 studied preterm-born children without BPD, 24 with BPD28 (supplemental oxygen dependency at 28 days), 15 with BPD36 (supplemental oxygen dependency 36 weeks postmenstrual age) and 34 born preterm. For the preterm-born group without BPD and for the BPD28 and BPD36 groups the mean differences (and 95% CIs) for %FEV1 compared with term-born controls were −7.2% (−8.7% to −5.6%), −16.2% (−19.9% to −12.4%) and −18.9% (−21.1% to −16.7%), respectively. Pooling all data on preterm-born subjects whether or not there was a control group gave a pooled %FEV1 estimate of 91.0% (88.8% to 93.1%) for the preterm-born cohort without BPD, 83.7% (80.2% to 87.2%) for BPD28 and 79.1% (76.9% to 81.3%) for BPD36. Interestingly, %FEV1 for BPD28 has improved over the years.

Conclusions %FEV1 is decreased in preterm-born survivors, even those who do not develop BPD. %FEV1 of survivors of BPD28 has improved over recent years. Long-term respiratory follow-up of preterm-born survivors is required as they may be at risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

  • Paediatric Lung Disaese

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