OBJECTIVE. We investigated whether very low birth weight (<1500 g) is associated with the risk of sleep-disordered breathing in young adulthood.
METHODS. The study was a retrospective longitudinal study of 158 young adults born with very low birth weight and 169 term-born control subjects (aged 18.5–27.1 years). The principal outcome variable was sleep-disordered breathing defined as chronic snoring.
RESULTS. The crude prevalence of chronic snoring was similar in both groups: 15.8% for the very low birth weight group versus 13.6% for the control group. However, after controlling for the confounding variables in multivariate logistic regression models (age, gender, current smoking, parental education, height, BMI, and depression), chronic snoring was 2.2 times more likely in the very low birth weight group compared with the control group. In addition, maternal smoking during pregnancy was significantly and independently of very low birth weight related to risk of sleep-disordered breathing. Maternal preeclampsia, standardized birth weight, and, for very low birth weight infants, small-for-gestational-age status were not related to sleep-disordered breathing.
CONCLUSIONS. Premature infants with very low birth weight have a twofold risk of sleep-disordered breathing as young adults. In addition, maternal smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of sleep-disordered breathing by more than twofold.