King's College London

Research portal

The Preterm Heart in Adult Life: Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Reveals Distinct Differences in Left Ventricular Mass, Geometry and Function

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Adam J Lewandowski, Daniel Augustine, Pablo Lamata de la Orden, Esther F Davis, Merzaka Lazdam, Jane Francis, Kenny McCormick, Andrew Wilkinson, Atul Singhal, Alan Lucas, Nicolas Smith, Stefan Neubauer, Paul Leeson

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-206
Number of pages10
JournalCirculation (Baltimore)
StatePublished - 2013


  • 197.full

    197.full.pdf, 11 MB, application/pdf


    Final published version

    CC BY

King's Authors


Background—Preterm birth leads to an early switch from fetal to postnatal circulation before completion of left ventricular in utero development. In animal studies, this results in an adversely remodeled left ventricle. We determined whether preterm birth is associated with a distinct left ventricular structure and function in humans.

Methods and Results—A total of 234 individuals 20 to 39 years of age underwent cardiovascular magnetic resonance. One hundred two had been followed prospectively since preterm birth (gestational age=30.3±2.5 week; birth weight=1.3±0.3 kg), and 132 were born at term to uncomplicated pregnancies. Longitudinal and short-axis cine images were used to quantify left ventricular mass, 3-dimensional geometric variation by creation of a unique computational cardiac atlas, and myocardial function. We then determined whether perinatal factors modify these left ventricular parameters. Individuals born preterm had increased left ventricular mass (66.5±10.9 versus 55.4±11.4 g/m2; P<0.001) with greater prematurity associated with greater mass (r = −0.22, P=0.03). Preterm-born individuals had short left ventricles with small internal diameters and a displaced apex. Ejection fraction was preserved (P>0.99), but both longitudinal systolic (peak strain, strain rate, and velocity, P<0.001) and diastolic (peak strain rate and velocity, P<0.001) function and rotational (apical and basal peak systolic rotation rate, P =0.05 and P =0.006; net twist angle, P=0.02) movement were significantly reduced. A diagnosis of preeclampsia during the pregnancy was associated with further reductions in longitudinal peak systolic strain in the offspring (P=0.02, n=29).

Conclusions—Individuals born preterm have increased left ventricular mass in adult life. Furthermore, they exhibit a unique 3-dimensional left ventricular geometry and significant reductions in systolic and diastolic functional parameters.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454