Preterm birth is strongly associated with a higher risk of arrested cardiac growth, leading to cardiovascular events like stroke, heart failure, and ischemia. This study aims to evaluate the cardiac function in adolescents and young adults born preterm.
This is a cross-sectional cohort study that included a total of 40 adolescents and 70 adults born moderately to extremely premature, and 52 age-matched participants born at term and underwent cardiac MRI. The primary outcomes of the study were MRI measures of biventricular volume, mass, and strain.
The mean age of adult participants born preterm and on-term was 26.3 and 25.4, respectively; and, the mean age of adolescents born preterm and on-term was 13.0 and 13.3, respectively. Cardiac MRI found that participants from both age cohorts born prematurely had a significantly smaller biventricular cardiac chamber size compared with participants in the term group. The stroke volume index was also reduced in preterm participants, and biventricular mass was also significantly lower. Cardiac strain analysis indicated that participants born preterm had a hypercontractile heart, mainly in the right ventricle.
The research concluded that adolescents and young adults born preterm had a significantly smaller biventricular cardiac chamber size and decreased cardiac mass than those born on-term.