Adult preterm survivors from the 1980s have higher blood pressure (BP) than term controls. Survival rates of extremely preterm (gestational age < 28 weeks; EP) infants born after 1990 have increased, but whether they still have higher BP than term controls is unknown. This study compared the BP of contemporary EP survivors with term controls in late adolescence.
All EP adolescents and matched term controls born in 1991–92 in Victoria, Australia, were enrolled in a longitudinal study. At age 18 years, 24-h ambulatory BP was measured. Average BP was compared between EP and term groups, and predictors of BP in EP adolescents were examined.
BP data were obtained from 136 EP patients and 120 controls. EP patients on average had higher systolic, diastolic and mean BP than controls. The mean systolic difference over 24 h was 3.2 mmHg [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.1–6.4], 3.9 mmHg [95% CI 0.7–7.2] when awake, and 2.0 mmHg (95% CI 1.4–5.5) when asleep. Male sex and change in weight SD score from birth to 2 years were predictive of SBP (regression coefficients 6.2 (95% CI 1.8–10.6), P = 0.006) and 2.0 (95% CI 0.2–3.8), P = 0.032), respectively). SBP at age 8 was associated with BP at age 18 years.
Late adolescent EP survivors of the modern era have higher BP compared with term controls. This highlights the importance of long-term cardiovascular surveillance for this increasing group into adulthood.