Duration of neonatal oxygen supplementation, erythropoiesis and blood pressure in young adults born preterm.

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Although erythropoiesis is impaired and anaemia frequent in neonates born preterm, haematopoiesis in adults born preterm has not been previously studied.We, thus, aimed to evaluate haemoglobin and erythropoietin levels in young adults born preterm, to identify neonatal events associated with erythropoiesis in adulthood and to examine the relationships of haemoglobin levels with respiratory function and blood pressure.We assessed a cohort of 101 young adults (ages 18-29) born preterm (=29 weeks of gestation), in comparison to 105 full-term controls. We measured haemoglobin, erythropoietin levels and blood pressure. We also assessed respiratory function using spirometry.Compared with controls, tobacco use and sex-adjusted haemoglobin levels were 5.3 (95% CI 2.9 to 7.7) g/L higher in preterm-born individuals, but erythropoietin levels were similar. Duration of oxygen supplementation in the neonatal period was independently associated with higher haemoglobin levels in the preterm group. In young adults born preterm with bronchopulmonary dysplasia, airflow limitation was associated with higher haemoglobin levels. Both systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure were increased in individuals born preterm (p=0.042 and p=0.0008, respectively). Higher haemoglobin levels were associated with higher SBP and DBP, independently of term or preterm status. Mediation analysis suggests that haemoglobin increase contributes to 37% and 32% of the effect of preterm birth on SBP and DBP, respectively.Haemoglobin levels are higher in young adults born preterm, while erythropoietin levels are similar, especially in case of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and airflow limitation, and haemoglobin increase is associated with elevated blood pressure in this population.

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