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Premature Babies and Adult Sleep Apnea

Researchers already know that premature babies exposed to excess oxygen run the risk for developing a number of issues during infancy. Now experts from the University of Wisconsin warn that respiratory difficulties may actually persist into adulthood.

To explore the issue, investigators enlisted two groups of patients to undergo a breathing experiment.

The first group involved 13 adults at an average age of 21 all of whom appeared to be clinically healthy, despite having been born prematurely.

The researchers measured response to 5 minutes of excessively high oxygen levels and insufficient oxygen. The tests were also conducted among another 13 adults of comparable age and health only these participants had all been carried to full term.

In the New England Journal of Medicine, the team reports that only the premature group showed an abnormal breathing response under both test conditions. The researchers say this type of impaired breathing could lead to an increased risk of sleep disordered breathing, as well as disordered breathing in response to anesthesia and while at high altitudes.

I’m Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with news from today that can lead to healthy tomorrows.

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