A new study which looked at the prevalence of major co-morbidities in adulthood among people who were born preterm has found that the majority of people survived to early-to-mid adulthood without major co-morbidities.
The population based-cohort study included more than 2.5 million people born in Sweden between 1972 and 1997. The primary outcome was defined as survival without any co-morbidities through to 2015 based on the Adolescent and Young Adult Health Outcomes and Patient Experience (AYA HOPE) Co-morbidity Index through to 2015.
A total of 5.8 per cent of participants were born preterm. The study found 54.6 per cent of those born before 37 weeks gestation were alive with no major AYA HOPE co-morbidities at ages 18 to 43 years, compared with 63 per cent of those born full term. However, the outcomes were worse for those born extremely premature, with just over one in five of those born between 22 and 27 weeks having no co-morbidities.
Presenting the findings in JAMA, the authors said additional studies are needed to identify protective factors across the life course that enhance resilience and long-term health trajectory of persons born prematurely, particularly for those born extremely premature.