Health status (HS)/ health-related quality of life measures, completed by self or proxy, are important outcome indicators. Most HS literature on children born preterm includes adolescents and adults with limited data at preschool age. This study aimed to describe parent-reported HS in a large national cohort of extreme preterm children at preschool age and to identify clinical and sociodemographic variables associated with HS.
Infants born before 29 weeks’ gestation between 2009 and 2011 were enrolled in a prospective longitudinal national cohort study through the Canadian Neonatal Network (CNN) and the Canadian Neonatal Follow-Up Network (CNFUN). HS, at 36 months’ corrected age (CA), was measured with the Health Status Classification System for Pre-School Children tool completed by parents. Information about HS predictors was extracted from the CNN and CNFUN databases.
Of 811 children included, there were 79, 309 and 423 participants in 23–24, 25–26 and 27–28 weeks’ gestational age groups, respectively. At 36 months’ CA, 78% had a parent-reported health concern, mild in >50% and severe in 7%. Most affected HS attributes were speech (52.1%) and self-care (41.4%). Independent predictors of HS included substance use during pregnancy, infant male sex, Score for Neonatal Acute Physiology-II, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, severe retinopathy of prematurity, caregiver employment and single caregiver.
Most parents expressed no or mild health concerns for their children at 36 months’ CA. Factors associated with health concerns included initial severity of illness, complications of prematurity and social factors.