Can infant lung function predict respiratory morbidity during the first year of life in preterm infants?

Elena Proietti, Thomas Riedel, Oliver Fuchs, Isabelle Pramana, Florian Singer, Anne Schmidt, Claudia Kuehni, Philipp Latzin, Urs Frey*

*Corresponding author for this work
22 Citations (Scopus)


Compared with term-born infants, preterm infants have increased respiratory morbidity in the first year of life. We investigated whether lung function tests performed near term predict subsequent respiratory morbidity during the first year of life and compared this to standard clinical parameters in preterms. The prospective birth cohort included randomly selected preterm infants with and without bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Lung function (tidal breathing and multiple-breath washout) was measured at 44 weeks post-menstrual age during natural sleep. We assessed respiratory morbidity (wheeze, hospitalisation, inhalation and home oxygen therapy) after 1 year using a standardised questionnaire. We first assessed the association between lung function and subsequent respiratory morbidity. Secondly, we compared the predictive power of standard clinical predictors with and without lung function data. In 166 preterm infants, tidal volume, time to peak tidal expiratory flow/expiratory time ratio and respiratory rate were significantly associated with subsequent wheeze. In comparison with standard clinical predictors, lung function did not improve the prediction of later respiratory morbidity in an individual child. Although associated with later wheeze, noninvasive infant lung function shows large physiological variability and does not add to clinically relevant risk prediction for subsequent respiratory morbidity in an individual preterm.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1642-1651
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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