Cardiovascular effects of very preterm birth at adolescence: A longitudinal cohort study

Status: Complete
Year: 2017
Funded: $40,000
Grant Type:

We hypothesise that adolescents born very preterm will by 17 years of age have evidence of the late effects of prematurity with altered markers of cardiovascular function and early signs of the metabolic syndrome.

The aims of this study are to: Assess the early markers of cardiovascular morbidity by evaluation of cardiac structure and function using detailed echocardiography and ultrasound measurement of carotid artery intimal medial thickness in a very preterm cohort and term controls now aged 17; Identify the neonatal, growth and post discharge environmental risk for cardiovascular morbidity such as hypertension, obesity, and early atherosclerosis in very preterm infants; and to develop and evaluate an educational module focusing on the potential to reduce known cardiac risk factors for young people born term and preterm.

This study is part of a wider study of this cohort which includes respiratory, neurological, cognitive, educational and psychological/psychiatric assessment.

Researcher // Dr Sarah Harris – University of Otago

Dr Harris is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Paediatrics (Christchurch), at the University of Otago.

More About Dr Sarah Harris

What does Preterm Birth mean?

A premature birth is a birth that takes place more than three weeks before the baby’s estimated due date. In other words, a premature birth is one that occurs before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy. Premature babies, especially those born very early, often have complicated medical problems. Typically, complications of prematurity vary. But the earlier your baby is born, the higher the risk of complications.

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10% of all babies are born premature (before 37 weeks) in New Zealand.
One premature baby is born every 90 minutes in New Zealand.
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In all, over 5,000 babies have a difficult to start life in New Zealand each year.
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15 million babies are born preterm around the world, or 1 in every 10 births.

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