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Keywords:

  • chronic lung disease;
  • lung function test;
  • prematurity;
  • respiratory illness;
  • school age

Aim:  The study aimed to determine the respiratory outcome of children who had chronic lung disease of prematurity (CLD) compared with a preterm control group of children at school age.

Methods:  Fifty-two preterm infants with CLD born between 26 and 33 weeks gestation were assessed regarding respiratory illness with 47 having lung function testing. Information regarding respiratory illness was obtained from 52 children in the birthweight-matched control group of whom 45 had lung function testing. The results were compared between the CLD and control groups.

Results:  There was no difference in respiratory symptomatology between CLD groups and control preterm infants. On lung function testing, a significantly lower mean forced expiratory flow at 25–75% of vital capacity was identified compared with the preterm controls (P = 0.024). This significant difference did not persist after bronchodilator therapy. There was no evidence of increased air trapping or bronchial hyper-reactivity in the CLD children compared with the controls.

Conclusion:  Lung function in CLD children is largely normal in comparison with preterm controls, apart from some evidence of reversible small airway obstruction. Respiratory symptomatology is not increased in chronic disease children in comparison with control preterm children.