Pulmonary testing using peak flow meters of very low birth weight children born in the perisurfactant era and school controls at age 10 years

Mari Palta, Mona Sadek-Badawi, Kathleen Madden, Christopher Green
Pediatric Pulmonology 2007, 42 (9): 819-28
We determined lung function at age 10 years in very low birthweight (VLBW, <or=1,500 g) children and controls, and compared the sensitivity to detect subgroup differences by peak expiratory flow (PEF), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV(1)), forced vital capacity (FVC) and their diurnal variation. VLBW children were recruited across the perisurfactant era at admission to six NICUs in Wisconsin and Iowa, and controls from area classrooms. Two hundred sixty five VLBW children and 360 controls were tested by the Jaeger AM1 peak flow meter at age 10 years. Two hundred six VLBW and 79 controls had additional home monitoring. Abnormality was defined as observed/predicted ratio <0.8 for PEF, FEV(1), and FVC, and by criteria of Pelkonen for diurnal PEF variation. VLBW children were compared to controls, VLBW children with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) to those without, and those with respiratory conditions to those without. PEF and FEV(1) showed high reproducibility (intraclass correlations, ICC 0.75-0.83). Controls and VLBW children with and without BPD differed significantly on all measures. Baseline test results did not differ across birth years, but PEF variation was less after surfactant availability (P = 0.04). Observed over predicted FEV(1) was the most sensitive in detecting differences between groups (P < 0.001), with mean (s.d.) 0.97 (0.12) for controls, 0.88 (0.14) for VLBW children without BPD, and 0.78 (0.13) for those with BPD. Odds ratios for abnormality were especially high with respiratory medication use during the first 5 years of life, 4.4 (95% CI: 2.0-9.8) for FEV(1) and 5.1 (95% CI: 2.0-13.2) for diurnal PEF variation. Our results show that respiratory abnormalities persist to at least age 10 years for VLBW children born in the surfactant era.

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