Up to 10% of babies across the world are born before the full 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed. This is known as preterm birth, and large-scale studies have found that people born preterm are at risk of developing heart disease as they reach young adulthood.
A team led by Dr Adam Lewandowski (Radcliffe Department of Medicine) is working to understand how the heart and vascular system develops differently in these people throughout their life-span, compared to their peers born after a full-term pregnancy. Dr Lewandowski and others have previously shown that people born preterm, as a group, have altered left ventricular structure and function of the heart, as well as a higher blood pressure. But the relationship between these two factors was still unclear.
Now, in a study published in JAMA Cardiology, Dr Lewandowski and his team studied magnetic resonance images of the heart from 468 young adults. Two hundred of these adults were born preterm.