Young adults born extremely preterm at risk of heart disease


A study led by researchers from the Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) in Newborn Medicine has shown that young adults born extremely preterm are susceptible to high blood pressure.

As part of the Victorian Infant Collaborative Study, over 200 adults born in 1991 and 1992 have been followed throughout their lives. At the time of their birth, babies were either less than 28 weeks' gestation, had a birthweight under 1000 grams, or were normal birthweight.

Now aged 25, study participants who were born extremely premature were found to be almost twice as likely to have high blood pressure compared with those born at normal birthweight.

Dr. Anjali Haikerwal from the Women's Hospital in Melbourne is the lead author on the study published in the journal Hypertension and said this is an important finding for people born preterm.

"Survival rates of preterm babies in Victoria have gone from 10% in the 1970s to 75% in the late 1990s, thanks to significant steps forward in newborn medicine and technology. It is increasingly important to understand the long-term health outcomes into adulthood in this rapidly growing at-risk population."

"High blood pressure is the leading contributor to the global burden of heart disease. The findings of this study have important clinical implications for health professionals, the families of premature babies, and for the individuals born preterm themselves as they enter adulthood," said Dr. Haikerwal.

You can watch Dr Haikerwal explaining the significance of the study findings here: 

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