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The increased susceptibility to airway infections after preterm birth does not persist into adolescence

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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INTRODUCTION: Preterm birth is associated with increased risk of airway infections in childhood, more frequent purchase of prescription antibiotics and hospital admissions for airway infections. With this study, we aimed to investigate whether this association persists into adolescence.

METHODS: We conducted a longitudinal observational register-based study of a national cohort of all infants born in Denmark in 1992-2007. We used purchase of antibiotics, including penicillins and macrolides, and hospital admissions as proxies for milder and more severe forms of airway infections respectively in 1995-2010. Associations between gestational age (GA), age, year and repeated cross-sectional evaluations of antibiotic purchase and hospital admissions were explored by logistic regression analyses.

RESULTS: We included 1,043,411 children in our study population. We found a statistically significant association between GA and prescription of antibiotics as well as hospital admissions due to airway infections. In the youngest age groups, children with higher GA had lower adjusted mean rates of prescribed antibiotics for airway infections, but from the age of 10-11 years the opposite trend was noted in what appears to be a dose-response relationship. During childhood, we found an inverse dose-response relationship where ex-preterms with GA 23-27 at age 4-5 years had twice the odds of hospital admission compared to children in the same age group born at term. During adolescence, these higher odds diminished and appeared equivalent among teenagers born at term and preterm. We only found statistically significant interactions between gestational age and age.

CONCLUSION: We confirmed that preterm birth is associated with higher rates of prescribed antibiotics and higher odds of hospitalization for airway infections during childhood. However, in adolescence we found that there was no increase in hospital admissions for airway infections among ex-preterms, whereas adolescents with low GA actually appeared to purchase less prescribed antibiotics. Whether this trend persists into adulthood and the physiological explanation therefor remains to be investigated.

TidsskriftPLoS One
Udgave nummer9 September
Sider (fra-til)e0238382
StatusUdgivet - sep. 2020

ID: 62034483