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Slovenska pediatrija 2019; 26: 3-9

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Research article


T. Robič Pikel
Oddelek za biologijo, Biotehniška fakulteta, Univerza v Ljubljani, Ljubljana, Slovenija

J. Babnik
Enota za intenzivno nego novorojenčkov, Oddelek za perinatalogijo, Klinika za ginekologijo in porodništvo, UKC Ljubljana, Slovenija

P. Golja
Oddelek za biologijo, Biotehniška fakulteta, Univerza v Ljubljani, Ljubljana, Slovenija


Background: Preterm birth has been associated with impaired development of organs and the immune system, which may increase the incidence of some diseases in the first years of life and later on. We compared the incidence of acquired diseases and neurological development between individuals born preterm (PT; <37 weeks gestational age) and those born full-term (FT). Materials and methods: Longitudinal study data were obtained from the Slovenian perinatal database and outpatient examinations at the age of 1, 2, 3, and 11 years. The incidence of diseases was compared between the groups with the chi-square test, the number of diseases, hospitalisations, and age at kindergarten enrolment with the t-test.Results: Selected health disorders at birth were more frequent in PT (N=222) than in FT (N=252) infants (p<0.001). In the first three years of life, hospitalisations were more frequent (p=0.07) in very preterm (VPT) than in FT children. Acquired infectious diseases in childhood and adolescence had a similar incidence in both groups, although respiratory diseases in the first years of life were experienced more often (p<0.05) in FT than in PT children. Conclusions: The majority of the investigated diseases had a higher incidence in the first years of life in PT than in FT children, although respiratory infectious diseases were less common in VPT than FT children, probably due to the earlier enrolment of the latter in kindergarten.

Key words: Full-term, infectious diseases, longitudinal study, neurological development, preterm, respiratory infections, visual impairment.