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Very premature birth frequently results in chronic respiratory morbidity, particularly if complicated by the development of chronic lung disease, bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). Affected infants may remain oxygen dependent for many months and require hospital readmission in the first two years after birth. Troublesome, recurrent respiratory symptoms requiring treatment are common. The worst affected may remain symptomatic with evidence of airways obstruction even as adults. Infant who are born prematurely and develop BPD are at increased risk of severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. RSV infection in prematurely born infants is associated with excess chronic respiratory morbidity, as evidenced by greater frequency of respiratory symptoms, lung function abnormalities and healthcare utilisation. There is some evidence to suggest that prematurely born infants, as those born at term, may be predisposed to symptomatic RSV lower respiratory tract infections by pre-morbid abnormal lung function. Longitudinal studies assessing lung function before and after RSV infection are required to determine whether RSV infection does alter the course of chronic lung disease in prematurely born infants. © 2011 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.

Original publication




Journal article


Current Respiratory Medicine Reviews

Publication Date





172 - 175