Because of remarkable advances in the treatment of preterm birth, physicians increasingly encounter adult patients who were born preterm. However, research now shows that improved early survival may come at the expense of future health risks, including increased respiratory, cardiovascular, and kidney disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and neuropsychiatric disorders. Unfortunately, this knowledge is not yet reflected in patient care. The NIH recently convened a conference of multidisciplinary international experts who called for better awareness among physicians regarding adult outcomes of preterm birth, which is critically needed for enabling them to identify and provide better care for these patients across the life course. This Letter aims to promote awareness of this issue among physicians in order to inform long-term patient care and policy. The continued high (~ 10%) prevalence of preterm birth and unprecedented numbers who are surviving into adulthood mean that the long-term health effects will have a growing clinical and public health impact in the future.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
- Chronic disease
- Premature birth