AIMS--To examine the relation, based on two types of questionnaires, between (1) chronic lung disease of the newborn (CLDN) and lower respiratory illness (LRI) in siblings, and between (2) CLDN and asthma, chronic obstruction pulmonary disease (COPD), or allergy in parents and grandparents. METHODS--Data from 209 children born before 32 weeks of gestation were randomly taken from the records of three neonatal units. Taking into account age and gender, the excess of LRI was calculated for each family compared with the average of all families. Subsequently whether CLDN was associated with an excess of LRI in the family was tested. RESULTS--Thirty one (14.8%) children were diagnosed as having CLDN. The family probability index for LRI did not differ between children with or without CLDN. The prevalence of COPD, asthma, and allergy in parents of children with CLDN was similar to that of children without CLDN. The prevalence of LRI was 18.1% in study children, 29.6% in children with CLDN, and 16.9% in children without CLDN (P < 0.01). These prevalences were higher compared with that of a group of term siblings (9.3%) (P = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS--These findings suggest that CLDN in preterm children is not related to a genetic or familial predisposition towards asthma, COPD, or allergy.
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