OBJECTIVE: This study investigates the risk for long-term respiratory hospitalizations of offspring born small for gestational age (SGA) at term.
STUDY DESIGN: A retrospective population-based cohort analysis was performed to examine the risk of long-term respiratory hospitalizations between SGA compared to appropriate for gestational age (AGA) newborns. The analysis included all term singleton deliveries occurring between 1991 and 2014 at a single tertiary medical center. Fetuses with congenital malformations, multiple gestation, cases of perinatal mortality and large for gestational age (LGA) were excluded. A Kaplan-Meier survival curve was used to compare cumulative morbidity incidence up to the age of 18 years, and a Cox hazards regression model was used to control for confounders.
RESULTS: During the study period 216,671 deliveries met the inclusion criteria; of them 4.8% (n = 10,450) were diagnosed as SGA neonates. During the follow-up period, the rate of hospitalization due to respiratory morbidity was significantly higher in the SGA group as compared to the AGA group (5.2% vs. 4.7%, OR = 1.13, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.03-1.24, p = 0.011). The Kaplan-Meier survival curve demonstrated a significantly higher cumulative incidence of respiratory morbidity in the SGA group (log-rank p = 0.026). In the Cox hazards regression model, controlled for relevant clinical confounders, SGA was found to be an independent risk factor for long-term pediatric respiratory morbidity (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] = 1.1, 95% CI = 1.001-1.19, p = 0.049).
CONCLUSION: Being delivered SGA at term is an independent long-term risk factor for pediatric respiratory hospitalization.