Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Chorioamnionitis and subsequent lung function in preterm infants.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the relationship between prematurity, gender and chorioamnionitis as determinants of early life lung function in premature infants.

METHODS: Placenta and membranes were collected from preterm deliveries (<37 weeks gestational age) and evaluated for histological chorioamnionitis (HCA). Patients were followed and lung function was performed in the first year of life by Raised Volume-Rapid Thoracic Compression Technique.

RESULTS: Ninety-five infants (43 males) born prematurely (median gestational age 34.2 weeks) were recruited. HCA was detected in 66 (69%) of the placentas, and of these 55(58%) were scored HCA Grade 1, and 11(12%) HCA Grade 2. Infants exposed to HCA Grade 1 and Grade 2, when compared to those not exposed, presented significantly lower gestational ages, higher prevalence of RDS, clinical early-onset sepsis, and the use of supplemental oxygen more than 28 days. Infants exposed to HCA also had significantly lower maximal flows. There was a significant negative trend for z-scores of lung function in relation to levels of HCA; infants had lower maximal expiratory flows with increasing level of HCA. (p = 0.012 for FEF50, p = 0.014 for FEF25-75 and p = 0.32 for FEV0.5). Two-way ANOVA adjusted for length and gestational age indicated a significant interaction between sex and HCA in determining expiratory flows (p<0.01 for FEF50, FEF25-75 and p<0.05 for FEV0.5). Post-hoc comparisons revealed that female preterm infants exposed to HCA Grade 1 and Grade 2 had significant lower lung function than those not exposed, and this effect was not observed among males.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show a sex-specific negative effect of prenatal inflammation on lung function of female preterm infants. This study confirms and expands knowledge upon the known association between chorioamnionitis and early life chronic lung disease.

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