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Persistent Asthma Diagnosis Tied to Late-Preterm Birth

Late-preterm birth ups persistent asthma risk, use of inhaled corticosteroids, respiratory visits

MONDAY, Sept. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Late preterm birth is correlated with an increased diagnosis of persistent asthma, use of inhaled corticosteroids, and more acute respiratory visits, according to a study published online Sept. 12 in Pediatrics.

Neera K. Goyal, M.D., from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues investigated the correlation between late-preterm birth and asthma severity in 7,925 infants born in 2007 at 34 to 42 weeks of gestation. A total of 7 percent were born late preterm (34 to 36 weeks), and 21 percent at low-normal gestation (37 to 38 weeks). The impact of late preterm and low-normal gestation was compared with term (39 to 42 weeks) gestation for diagnoses of asthma and persistent asthma, inhaled corticosteroid use, and numbers of acute respiratory visits in infants from birth to 18 months.

The investigators found that by 18 months, 8.3 percent of infants had been diagnosed with asthma. Late preterm gestation was correlated with a significant increase in diagnosis of persistent asthma, inhaled corticosteroid use, and numbers of acute respiratory visits compared with term gestation (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.68, 1.66, 1.44, respectively). Low-normal gestation was correlated with increases in asthma diagnoses and inhaled corticosteroid use (aOR, 1.34 and 1.39, respectively).

"Although children born late preterm were not statistically more likely than term children to have asthma diagnosed, they were more likely to have persistent asthma diagnosed, to be given an inhaled corticosteroid, and to be seen for acute outpatient respiratory visits," the authors write.

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