Objectives Although increased pulmonary arterial pressure is common in infancy in preterm infants who develop chronic lung disease of prematurity (CLD), it is unknown if the increase persists into childhood. We, therefore, assessed if 8–12-year-old children with documented CLD in infancy had evidence of right ventricular dysfunction or pulmonary arterial hypertension at rest or in response to acute hypoxia when compared to preterm and term-born controls.
Methods We studied 90 children: 60 born at ≤32 weeks of gestation (28 with CLD and 32 preterm controls), and 30 term-born controls. All had echocardiography including myocardial velocity imaging, at rest and while breathing 15% oxygen and 12% oxygen for 20 min each.
Results Baseline oxygen saturation, heart rate, blood pressure and echocardiographic markers of left and right ventricular function were similar in all three groups. While breathing 12% oxygen, the oxygen saturation decreased to 81.9% in the CLD group compared to 85.1% (p<0.05) and 84.7% (p<0.01) in the preterm and term controls, respectively. In response to hypoxia, all three groups showed increases in velocity of tricuspid regurgitation, end-diastolic velocity of pulmonary regurgitation, and right ventricular relaxation time; and decreases in pulmonary arterial acceleration time and the ratio of right ventricular acceleration time to ejection time. However, there were no differences between groups.
Conclusions Childhood survivors of CLD have comparable left and right ventricular function at 8–12 years of age to preterm and term-born children, and no evidence of increased pulmonary arterial pressure even after hypoxic exposure.
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