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Pre-mature birth impacts left ventricular development, predisposing this population to long-term cardiovascular risk. The aims of this study were to investigate maturational changes in rotational properties from the neonatal period through 1 year of age and to discern the impact of cardiopulmonary complications of pre-maturity on these measures.
Pre-term infants (<29 weeks at birth, n = 117) were prospectively enrolled and followed to 1-year corrected age. Left ventricular basal and apical rotation, twist, and torsion were measured by two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography and analysed at 32 and 36 weeks post-menstrual age and 1-year corrected age. A mixed random effects model with repeated measures analysis was used to compare rotational mechanics over time. Torsion was compared in infants with and without complications of cardiopulmonary diseases of pre-maturity, specifically bronchopulmonary dysplasia, pulmonary hypertension, and patent ductus arteriosus.
Torsion decreased from 32 weeks post-menstrual age to 1-year corrected age in all pre-term infants (p < 0.001). The decline from 32 to 36 weeks post-menstrual age was more pronounced in infants with cardiopulmonary complications, but was similar to healthy pre-term infants from 36 weeks post-menstrual age to 1-year corrected age. The decline was due to directional and magnitude changes in apical rotation over time (p < 0.05).
This study tracks maturational patterns of rotational mechanics in pre-term infants and reveals torsion declines from the neonatal period through 1 year. Cardiopulmonary diseases of pre-maturity may negatively impact rotational mechanics during the neonatal period, but the myocardium recovers by 1-year corrected age.
Prematurity impacts myocardial development and may determine long-term outcomes. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that preterm neonates develop right ventricle dysfunction and adaptive remodelling by 32 weeks post-menstrual age that persists through 1 year corrected age.
Materials and Methods:
A subset of 80 preterm infants (born <29 weeks) was selected retrospectively from a prospectively enrolled cohort and measures of right ventricle systolic function and morphology by two-dimensional echocardiography were assessed at 32 weeks post-menstrual age and at 1 year of corrected age. Comparisons were made to 50 term infants at 1 month and 1 year of age. Sub-analyses were performed in preterm-born infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia and/or pulmonary hypertension.
In both term and preterm infants, right ventricle function and morphology increased over the first year (p < 0.01). The magnitudes of right ventricle function measures were lower in preterm-born infants at each time period (p < 0.01 for all) and right ventricle morphology indices were wider in all preterm infants by 1 year corrected age, irrespective of lung disease. Measures of a) right ventricle function were further decreased and b) morphology increased through 1 year in preterm infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia and/or pulmonary hypertension (p < 0.01).
Preterm infants exhibit abnormal right ventricle performance with remodelling at 32 weeks post-menstrual age that persists through 1 year corrected age, suggesting a less developed intrinsic myocardial function response following preterm birth. The development of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and pulmonary hypertension leave a further negative impact on right ventricle mechanics over the first year of age.