Association Between Preterm Birth and Arrested Cardiac Growt
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Premature birth is associated with substantially higher lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease, including arrhythmia, ischemic disease, and heart failure, although the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood.

The objective of this study was to characterize cardiac structure and function in adolescents and young adults born preterm using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

This cross-sectional cohort study at an academic medical center included adolescents and young adults born moderately to extremely premature and 52 age-matched participants who were born at term and underwent cardiac MRI. Main study outcomes included MRI measures of biventricular volume, mass, and strain.

Results: Of 40 adolescents, the mean age of participants in the term and preterm groups was 13.3 years and 13.0 years, respectively. Of 70 adults, the mean age of participants in the term and preterm groups was 25.4 years and 26.5 years, respectively. Participants from both age cohorts who were born prematurely had statistically significantly smaller biventricular cardiac chamber size compared with participants in the term group: the mean left ventricular end-diastolic volume index was 72 vs 80 and 80 vs 92 mL/m2 for adolescents and adults in the preterm group compared with age-matched participants in the term group, respectively, and the mean left ventricular end-systolic volume index was 30 vs 34 and 32 vs 38 mL/m2, respectively. Stroke volume index was also reduced in adolescent vs adult participants in the preterm group vs age-matched participants in the term group, although biventricular ejection fractions were preserved. Biventricular mass was statistically significantly lower in adolescents and adults born preterm. Cardiac strain analyses demonstrated a hypercontractile heart, primarily in the right ventricle, in adults born prematurely.

Conclusively, adolescents and young adults born prematurely had statistically significantly smaller biventricular cardiac chamber size and decreased cardiac mass. Although function was preserved in both age groups, these morphologic differences may be associated with elevated lifetime cardiovascular disease risk after premature birth.

Source: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/article-abstract/2766286
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