Preterm Birth Is a Novel, Independent Risk Factor for Altered Cardiac Remodeling and Early Heart Failure: Is it Time for a New Cardiomyopathy?
Burchert H., Lewandowski AJ.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Around 10% of the global population is born preterm (< 37 weeks' gestation). Preterm birth is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events, with preterm-born individuals demonstrating a distinct cardiac phenotype. This review aims to summarize the main phenotypic features of the preterm heart and directions for future research to develop novel intervention strategies. RECENT FINDINGS: Being born between 28 and 31 weeks' gestation results in a 4-fold higher risk of heart failure in childhood and adolescence and 17-fold increased risk when born less than 28 weeks' gestation. In support of this being due to a reduction in myocardial functional reserve, preterm-born young adults have an impaired left ventricular cardiac systolic response to moderate and high intensity physiological stress, despite having a preserved resting left ventricular ejection fraction. Similar impairments under physiological stress were also recently reported regarding the right ventricle in young adults born preterm. Preterm birth relates to a unique cardiac phenotype with an impaired response to stress conditions. These data, combined with the work in animal models, suggest that being born preterm may lead to a novel form of cardiomyopathy. Understanding the driving mechanisms leading to this unique cardiac phenotype is important to reduce risk of future heart failure and cardiovascular events.