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Prenatal predictors of chronic lung disease in very preterm infants
  1. D J Henderson-Smart1,
  2. J L Hutchinson1,
  3. D A Donoghue1,
  4. N J Evans2,
  5. J M Simpson3,
  6. I Wright4,
  7. for the Australian and New Zealand Neonatal Network
  1. 1Centre for Perinatal Health Services Research, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  2. 2Department of Neonatal Medicine, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney
  3. 3School of Public Health, University of Sydney
  4. 4Department of Neonatal Medicine, John Hunter Children’s Hospital, and Mothers and Babies Research Centre, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor Henderson-Smart
    Centre for Perinatal Health Services Research, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia; dhs{at}


Objective: To identify prenatal risk factors for chronic lung disease (CLD) at 36 weeks postmenstrual age in very preterm infants.

Population: Data were collected prospectively as part of the ongoing audit of the Australian and New Zealand Neonatal Network (ANZNN) of all infants born at less than 32 weeks gestation admitted to all tertiary neonatal intensive care units in Australia and New Zealand.

Methods: Prenatal factors up to 1 minute of age were examined in the subset of infants born at gestational ages 22–31 weeks during 1998–2001, and who survived to 36 weeks postmenstrual age (n = 11 453). Factors that were significantly associated with CLD at 36 weeks were entered into a multivariate logistic regression model.

Results: After adjustment, low gestational age was the dominant risk factor, with an approximate doubling of the odds with each week of decreasing gestational age from 31 to less than 25 weeks (trend p<0.0001). Birth weight for gestational age also had a dose-response effect: the lower the birth weight for gestational age, the greater the risk, with infants below the third centile having 5.67 times greater odds of CLD than those between the 25th and 75th centile (trend p<0.0001). There was also a significantly increased risk for male infants (odds ratio 1.51 (95% confidence interval 1.36 to 1.68), p<0.0001).

Conclusions: These population based data show that the prenatal factors low gestational age, low birth weight for gestational age, and male sex significantly predict the development of chronic respiratory insufficiency in very preterm infants and may assist clinical decision about delivery.

  • ANZNN, Australian and New Zealand Neonatal Network
  • CLD, chronic lung disease
  • IUGR, intrauterine growth restriction
  • NICU, neonatal intensive care unit
  • ROC, receiver operating characteristics
  • preterm
  • chronic lung disease
  • brochopulmonary dysplasia
  • small for gestational age
  • population based
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  • Published online first 30 August 2005

  • Competing interests: none declared

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