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Prediction of outcome from the chest radiograph appearance on day 7 of very prematurely born infants


Our aim was to determine whether the chest radiograph appearance at 7 days predicted chronic lung disease development (oxygen dependency at 36 weeks post-menstrual age) or death before discharge and if it was a better predictor than readily available clinical data. Two consecutive studies were performed. In both, chest radiographs taken at 7 days for clinical purposes were assessed using a scoring system for the presence of fibrosis/interstitial shadows, cystic elements and hyperinflation and data were collected regarding gestational age, birth weight, use of antenatal steroids and post-natal surfactant and requirement for ventilation at 7 days. Oxygenation indices were calculated in the first study (study A) at 120 h and in the second (study B) at 168 h. In study A, there were 59 infants with a median gestational age of 26 weeks (range 24 to 28 weeks) and in study B, 40 infants with a median gestational age of 27 weeks (range 25–31 weeks). In both studies, infants who developed chronic lung disease had a significantly higher total chest radiograph score, with a higher score for fibrosis/interstitial shadowing than the rest of the cohort. Infants who died before discharge differed significantly from the rest with regard to significantly higher scores for cysts. In both studies, the areas under the receiver operator characteristic curves with regard to prediction of chronic lung disease were higher for the total chest radiograph score compared to those for readily available clinical data. Conclusion:in infants who require a chest radiograph for clinical purposes at 7 days, the chest radiograph appearance can facilitate prediction of outcome of infants born very prematurely.

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Fig. 1



chronic lung disease


chest radiograph


conventional mechanical ventilation


high frequency oscillation


King’s College Hospital

OI :

oxygenation index


pulmonary intestinal emphysema


post-menstrual age


receiver operator characteristic curves


United Kingdom Oscillation Study


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Drs Thomas and Johnson and Mrs E Limb were supported by the Medical Research Council. The UKOS trial is funded by the Medical Research Council. Drs Dimitriou and Williams were supported by Children Nationwide.

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Correspondence to Anne Greenough.

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Greenough, A., Thomas, M., Dimitriou, G. et al. Prediction of outcome from the chest radiograph appearance on day 7 of very prematurely born infants. Eur J Pediatr 163, 14–18 (2004).

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  • Chest radiograph
  • Chronic lung disease