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#SELFIE is investigating the structure and function of your heart and how it responds to exercise, using methods including ultrasound imaging and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of your heart.


Some adults that were born preterm have differences in the shape of their hearts and how effectively their hearts pump blood around the body. Previous research has shown that, in these people, their heart may not work as well during moderate and high-intensity exercise, such as running for the bus or sprinting up stairs. This reduced ability of the heart to pump blood seems to predict their aerobic fitness, but we need to study this in more detail. To do this, we will use two different methods to image the heart, called echocardiography and cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), in preterm-born adults to determine: (1) heart function, and how it relates to the shape of the heart and properties of the heart wall muscle; and (2) whether the reduced ability of the heart to pump blood around the body during exercise is worse in those born the most premature. This data will be used to better understand the relevance of these heart changes in people born preterm.


We know that certain events that happened around the time of birth, such as being born early, affect how well people are able to exercise as young adults. The #SELFIE study will help us understand more about why this occurs, using methods including ultrasound imaging and magnetic resonance imaging of your heart during exercise testing. 


We are asking young adults aged 25-40 years old born preterm (born before 37 weeks’ gestation) or full term (born after 37 weeks’ gestation), to take part.


There is one study visit as part of the #SELFIE Study which will last up to 4 hours. This visit will take place at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. The visit will includesub-maximal exercise testing and exercise echocardiography, and an MRI scan. During this visit, we will also record blood pressure and collect demographic and anthropometric data, and you will be asked to complete a lifestyle questionnaire. The study visit will finish with you being provided with a wrist worn activity tracker to wear for 7 days. 


The study is supported with funding from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) as part of Dr Lewandowski’s BHF Intermediate Research Fellowship (FS/18/3/33292). 


The study has been approved by the London- City & East Research Ethics Committee (Reference 20/LO/1125).