Background: Data addressing short- and long-term respiratory morbidity in moderate-late preterm infants are limited. We aim to determine the incidence of recurrent wheezing and associated risk and protective factors in these infants during the first 3 years of life. Methods: Prospective, multicenter birth cohort study of infants born at 32+0 to 35+0 weeks’ gestation and followed for 3 years to assess the incidence of physician-diagnosed recurrent wheezing. Allergen sensitization and pulmonary function were also studied. We used multivariate mixed-effects models to identify risk factors associated with recurrent wheezing. Results: A total of 977 preterm infants were enrolled. Rates of recurrent wheezing during year (Y)1 and Y2 were similar (19%) but decreased to 13.3% in Y3. Related hospitalizations significantly declined from 6.3% in Y1 to 0.75% in Y3. Independent risk factors for recurrent wheezing during Y2 and Y3 included the following: day care attendance, acetaminophen use during pregnancy, and need for mechanical ventilation. Atopic dermatitis on Y2 and male sex on Y3 were also independently associated with recurrent wheezing. Palivizumab prophylaxis for RSV during the first year of life decreased the risk or recurrent wheezing on Y3. While there were no differences in rates of allergen sensitization, pulmonary function tests (FEV0.5) were significantly lower in children who developed recurrent wheezing. Conclusions: In moderate-to-late premature infants, respiratory symptoms were associated with lung morbidity persisted during the first 3 years of life and were associated with abnormal pulmonary function tests. Only anti-RSV prophylaxis exerted a protective effect in the development of recurrent wheezing.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)124-132
Number of pages9
JournalPediatric Allergy and Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • allergen sensitization
  • asthma
  • birth cohort
  • lung function
  • preterm birth
  • recurrent wheezing
  • risk factors


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