Skip to main content

Table 1 Long-term impact of preterm birth on survivors

From: Born Too Soon: The global epidemiology of 15 million preterm births

Long-term outcomes   Examples: Frequency in survivors:
Specific physical effects Visual impairment • Blindness or high myopia after retinopathy of prematurity
• Increased hypermetropia and myopia
Around 25% of all extremely preterm affected[80]
Also risk in moderately preterm babies especially if poorly monitored oxygen therapy
  Hearing impairment   Up to 5 to 10% of extremely preterm[81]
  Chronic lung disease of prematurity • From reduced exercise tolerance to requirement for home oxygen
•Increased hospital admissions in childhood for LRTI[82]
Up to 40% of extremely preterm[83]
  Long-term cardiovascular ill-health and non-communicable disease • Increased blood pressure
• Reduced lung function
• Increased rates of asthma
• Growth failure in infancy, accelerated
weight gain in adolescence
Full extent of burden still to be quantified
Neuro-developmental/ behavioral effects[84] Mild
Disorders of executive
• Specific learning impairments, dyslexia, reduced academic achievement  
  Moderate to severe
Global developmental delay
• Moderate/severe cognitive impairment
• Motor impairment
• Cerebral palsy
Affected by gestational age and quality of care dependent[85]
  Psychiatric/ behavioral sequelae • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
• Increased anxiety and depression
Family, economic and societal effects Impact on family
Impact on health service
• Psychosocial, emotional and economic
• Cost of care[7] - acute, and ongoing
• Risk of preterm birth in offspring
Common varying with medical risk factors, disability, socioeconomic status[86]