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Pulmonary function and exercise performance were evaluated in a cohort of 26 children born prematurely at very low birth weight (VLBW) and compared to healthy term controls (age 8-14 years). Children with a history of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) had slightly lower lung resting function than those without BPD or controls. Oxygen uptake kinetics in the aerobic range were similar in all three groups. With incremental exercise, however, preterm children with and without BPD demonstrated ventilatory limitation with significantly lower peak work rates. A closer pulmonary follow-up including an exercise test may thus appear warranted after preterm delivery at VLBW.
The authors are with the Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, RWTH Aachen, Germany.