Preterm birth and risk of chronic kidney disease from childhood into mid-adulthood: National cohort study

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Objective To investigate the relation between preterm birth (gestational age <37 weeks) and risk of CKD from childhood into mid-adulthood. Design National cohort study. Setting Sweden. Participants 4 186 615 singleton live births in Sweden during 1973-2014. Exposures Gestational age at birth, identified from nationwide birth records in the Swedish birth registry. Main outcome measures CKD, identified from nationwide inpatient and outpatient diagnoses through 2015 (maximum age 43 years). Cox regression was used to examine gestational age at birth and risk of CKD while adjusting for potential confounders, and co-sibling analyses assessed the influence of unmeasured shared familial (genetic or environmental) factors. Results 4305 (0.1%) participants had a diagnosis of CKD during 87.0 million person years of follow-up. Preterm birth and extremely preterm birth (<28 weeks) were associated with nearly twofold and threefold risks of CKD, respectively, from birth into mid-adulthood (adjusted hazard ratio 1.94, 95%confidence interval 1.74 to 2.16; P<0.001; 3.01, 1.67 to 5.45; P<0.001). An increased risk was observed even among those born at early term (37-38 weeks) (1.30, 1.20 to 1.40; P<0.001). The association between preterm birth and CKD was strongest at ages 0-9 years (5.09, 4.11 to 6.31; P<0.001), then weakened but remained increased at ages 10-19 years (1.97, 1.57 to 2.49; P<0.001) and 20-43 years (1.34, 1.15 to 1.57; P<0.001). These associations affected both males and females and did not seem to be related to shared genetic or environmental factors in families. Conclusions Preterm and early term birth are strong risk factors for the development of CKD from childhood into mid-adulthood. People born prematurely need long term follow-up for monitoring and preventive actions to preserve renal function across the life course.


External organisations
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Stanford University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pediatrics
  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Original languageEnglish
Article numberl1346
JournalBMJ (Online)
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch