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Bone, 2020; 143(): 115648, PMID: 32950698

Bone health in young adult survivors born extremely preterm or extremely low birthweight in the post surfactant era.

Year: 2020

Haikerwal A, Doyle LW, Patton G, Garland SM, Cheung MM, Wark JD, Cheong JLY
Newborn Services, The Royal Women"s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Clinical Sciences, Murdoch Children"s Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address:


BACKGROUND: Most infants born extremely preterm (EP; <28 weeks" gestation) or extremely low birthweight (ELBW; <1000 g birthweight) in the post surfactant era (early 1990s) are now surviving into adulthood. Preterm birth/low birthweight are risk factors for reduced bone growth and mineralisation in infants and children. However, little is known about their bone health around peak bone mass and through adult life. OBJECTIVE: To compare bone health (bone mineral measures, bone structure and strength) in young adults born EP/ELBW with controls (>2499 g birthweight), and within the EP/ELBW group examine perinatal and later variables associated with long term bone health. METHODS: A geographic cohort comprising all 297 survivors born EP/ELBW in 1991-92 in the state of Victoria, Australia, and 260 contemporaneous controls (>2499 g birthweight) were recruited into a longitudinal study from birth. At age 25 years, investigations included dual energy X ray absorptiometry and peripheral quantitative computed tomography to measure bone, muscle and soft tissue variables, and fasting blood samples to measure serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and bone turnover markers (BTM). Linear regression analysis, with models fitted using generalised estimating equations, was used to compare outcomes between groups, adjusting for height and weight. RESULTS: Compared with controls (n = 129), young adults born EP/ELBW (n = 162) had lower areal bone mineral density (g/cm(2)) (mean difference [MD] -0.044; 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.076,-0.013) and Z-scores (MD -0.53; 95% CI -0.75, -0.30) in the femoral neck, and lower total hip Z-score (MD -0.35; 95% CI -0.54, -0.15) after adjusting for height and weight. EP/ELBW males generally displayed more bone and soft tissue deficits than females, compared with their respective controls. Within the EP/ELBW group, early growth, male sex, height and lean mass, muscle measures, 25(OH)D levels, and BTM were independently associated with bone mineral measures, structure or strength. CONCLUSIONS: Young adults born EP/ELBW had evidence of impaired bone health around the age of peak bone mass compared with controls. Further follow-up of the EP/ELBW groups will determine if they have a heightened low-trauma fracture risk in later life.

GID: 5283; Last update: 02.02.2021