Table_1_Subclinical Changes in Left Heart Structure and Function at Preschool Age in Very Low Birth Weight Preterm Infants.docx
Survivors of preterm birth are at risk of long-term cardiovascular consequences. The objective of this prospective observational study was to assess left heart function at preschool age in preterm children with very low birth weight (VLBW).Methods
We recruited children aged 5–6 years from preterm infants and full-term children. All subjects underwent conventional echocardiography and speckle-tracking echocardiography. The results were compared between the preterm and term groups.Results
Eighty-seven VLBW preterm children and 29 term controls were included in the study. After adjusting for body surface area, the preterm group compared to the full-term group had significantly smaller left ventricular (LV) end-diastolic and end-systolic internal dimensions (31.2 vs. 33.5 mm, p = 0.048; and 20.0 vs. 21.6 mm, respectively; p = 0.024), lower LV end-diastolic and end-systolic volumes (38.8 vs. 46.3 mL, p = 0.024; and 12.8 vs. 15.6 mL, respectively; p = 0.008). Left atrial (LA) maximal and minimal volume were also significantly smaller in the preterm group (15.4 vs. 18.9 mL, p = 0.017; and 6.2 vs 7.5 mL, respectively; p = 0.018). LV global longitudinal strain (−21.4 vs. −23.2%, p < 0.0001) and systolic strain rate (−1.30 vs. −1.37 /s, p = 0.001) were significantly lower in the preterm group than in the term control group. LA longitudinal strain was decreased (43.9 vs. 52.8%, p < 0.0001) and left atrial stiffness index (0.17 vs. 0.14, p < 0.0001) was increased in preterm infants. However, all the measurements in both groups were within normal range.Conclusions
Subclinical changes of left heart structure and function were found in VLBW infants at preschool age. Additional long-term follow-ups of the cardiovascular outcomes are needed in this vulnerable population.