Extremely Low Birthweight Children Found To Have More Chronic Health Problems Later in Life

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Saroj Saigal, MD, FRCP(C) Department of Pediatrics McMaster University Hamilton, Ontario Canada

Dr. Saroj Saigal

Saroj Saigal, MD, FRCP(C)
Department of Pediatrics
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Saigal: We started to follow infants who were born between 1977-82 and weighed less than 1000g or 2.2 pounds (extremely low birthweight, ELBW) because not much was known about the outcomes of these infants at the time.We have reported the findings at several ages, from infancy to adulthood, in comparison with normal birth weight (NBW) infants . In this report, 100 ELBW participants between 29-36 years of age were compared with 89 NBW participants. To our knowledge, this is the first longitudinal study that has followed infants from birth into their 30s.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Dr. Saigal: We found that extremely low birthweight adults in their 30s are disadvantaged In their employment, total income, and more required social assistance compared with their NBW peers. Extremely low birthweight members reported more chronic health conditions, more remained single, fewer had experiences sexual intercourse, and a lower proportion had children. However, on the positive side, they had similar levels of education, and the majority were living independently and were employed, they had fewer risky behaviours, and they contributed well to society. When participants with neurological problems were excluded, some of the differences in employment, social assistance, marital status, and reproduction were no longer different, but differences in income, lower self-esteem, and ever having experiences sexual interrcourse, remained.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Saigal: There is evidence from the literature and our studies that extremely low birthweight participants have more mental health problems, higher blood pressure and are at increased risk of metabolic problems that need to be pursued. We strongly believe that our ELBW and NBW participants should be followed to middle age to determine their life trajectory over time.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Dr. Saigal: With recent medical and technological advances there has been a remarkable increase in the survival of very premature infants, and hopefully their outcomes may be better than infants born nearly four decades ago. We suggest that longer-term studies on newer, more contemporary extremely premature survivors should be conducted to determine if their outcomes have changed, and to provide support and appropriate intervention strategies geared to improving their subsequent outcomes.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Health, Wealth, Social Integration, and Sexuality of Extremely Low-Birth-Weight Prematurely Born Adults in the Fourth Decade of Life
Saroj Saigal MD, FRCP(C), Kimberly L. Day PhD, Ryan J. Van Lieshout MD, PhD, FRCP(C), Louis A. Schmidt PhD, Katherine M. Morrison MD, FRCP(C), Michael H. Boyle PhD
JAMA Pediatr. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.0289 Published online May 23, 2016.

Saigal, Saroj” <saigal@mcmaster.ca

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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