<h4>Background</h4>Advances in neonatology now enable increasing numbers of very low birth weight neonates (<1500 g) to survive into early adulthood and beyond. What are the implications for their long-term care?<h4>Methods</h4>Selective literature search on the outcome of very low birth weight neonates in adulthood ("adults born preterm").<h4>Results</h4>Robust data are available on the pulmonary, metabolic, cardiovascular, renal, neurocognitive, sensory-visual, social-emotional, mental, reproductive, and musculoskeletal long-term risks. On the somatic level, elevated rates have been documented for asthma (odds Ratio [OR] 2.37), diabetes mellitus (OR 1.54), and chronic renal disease (hazard ratio [HR] 3.01), along with the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular sequelae of a tendency toward arterial hypertension. On the psychosocial level, the main findings are deficits in romantic partnerships (OR 0.72) and a lower reproduction rate (relative risk [RR] male/female 0.24/0.33). The affected women also have an elevated risk of preterm delivery.<h4>Conclusion</h4>A risk profile with both somatic and psychosocial aspects can be discerned for adults who were born prematurely, even if some of these risks are present in low absolute numbers. As the ability to compensate for latent deficits declines with age, such adults may suffer from "premature aging as the late price of premature birth." A holistic approach to care with personalized prevention strategies-which for most of them was discontinued at discharge from pediatric follow-up-therefore seems appropriate in adulthood as well.
Dtsch Arztebl Int (Deutsches Arzteblatt international)
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