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ItemRespiratory function tracking in survivors of prematurity and low birth weightGIBSON, ANNE-MARIE ( 2009)INTRODUCTION: To investigate longitudinal ‘tracking’ in lung growth, decline or stability of adult preterm/very low birth weight survivors over the study period. To investigate whether those who have clinically abnormal lung function fall further behind their contemporaries or demonstrate evidence of ‘catch-up’ growth. METHODS: 210 babies born ≤34 weeks’ gestation and with birth weights ≤ 1500g in 1977-1982 were followed up at 8, 11, 14, 18 and 25 years of age. Respiratory outcome was evaluated using Spirometry. Spirometry was performed at each of the follow-up periods. Mixed model regression was used to assess longitudinal lung function trajectories and the influence of Bronchopulmonary dysplasia, being small for gestational age and abnormal lung function. Restricted maximum likelihood modelling was used for longitudinal FEV1 z-score as it allows for analysis of data from different time points that are not necessarily evenly spaced, without being affected by missing data. RESULTS: 137 VLBW children completed lung function testing at 8 years of age. Twenty VLBW children (14.6%) had abnormal FEV1 z-scores and 26 (21.0%) [Defined as >2 standard deviation’s below the mean]. VLBW survivors showed minimal ‘catch-up’ in FEV1 z-score over the 13 years of the study; those without BPD (Bronchopulmonary dysplasia) FEV1 improved 0.034 (p=0.014) z-scores, those with BPD FEV1 improved 0.033 (p=0.039) z-scores. VLBW with BPD survivors did not return to within normal limits; those with abnormal FEF25-75 z-scores did not show significant ‘catch-up’ growth (p=0.41) and remained abnormal. CONCLUSIONS: Mixed models do not reveal any significant effects from being born with VLBW and its interaction with age; it does lead to a reduction in FEV1/FVC mean z-score. Although those VLBW individuals who were small for gestational age had significantly reduced FEV1, FVC and FEV1/FVC mean z-scores and these small for gestational age individuals show evidence of ‘catch-up’ growth in terms of lung function, with the exception of FEV1/FVC z-score which falls further from their contemporaries. This effect on FEV1 and FVC z-scores may suggest some protective element or compensatory mechanism of being born small for gestational age. Reassuringly, Bronchopulmonary dysplasia as a neonate did not significantly affect lung function variables as these individuals as they age. Those with clinically abnormal lung function show a progressive failure to achieve optimal lung function whether or not they had Bronchopulmonary dysplasia.