Even preemies who receive breathing treatments to improve lung function early in life may have respiratory challenges as children and adolescents, an Australian study suggests.
Researchers focused on the most vulnerable subset of premature babies: those born at no more than 28 weeks gestation. These babies are too frail and weak to breathe on their own; they often lack a lining in the lungs known as surfactant that keeps tiny air spaces called alveoli from collapsing with each exhalation.
When researchers examined data on about 300 extremely small, low birth weight babies, they found these early arrivals were much more likely to have small airway obstruction at ages 8 and 18 than a group of 260 otherwise similar babies who were born full-term and normal size.
More at Reuters Health