Premature babies at higher risk of heart failure during adolescence
London: Babies born prematurely run a higher risk of heart failure during childhood and adolescence than those born at full term, says a study.
"We found that the risk of heart failure was higher for individuals born preterm, and inversely correlated with duration of pregnancy, in that the earlier you're born, the greater the risk," said study lead author Hanna Carr, doctoral student at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
The registry-based study, published in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), involved 2.6 million individuals born between 1987 and 2012.
The study showed that children born before the 28th week are 17 times more likely to suffer heart failure than those born at full term. Individuals born a little later, in weeks 28 to 31, ran just over three times the risk.
This correlation held when children with birth defects were excluded from the analysis and other possible determinants, such as birth weight, socioeconomic situation and parental heart conditions, were controlled for.
The results corroborate earlier studies indicating abnormal development of the cardiovascular system in people born prematurely.
The researchers, however, pointed out that heart failure is very rare in children and young adults, so the risk of developing the condition at a young age is very small, even for people born prematurely.