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Long term follow-up of health-related quality of life in young adults born very preterm or with a very low birth weight

Gijsbert Verrips12*, Leonoor Brouwer3, Ton Vogels1, Erik Taal4, Constance Drossaert4, David Feeny56, Marieke Verheijden1 and Pauline Verloove-Vanhorick17

Author Affiliations

1 TNO, Leiden, the Netherlands

2 Academic Centre Dentistry Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

3 Intensive Care Department, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

4 Institute for Behavioral Research, Faculty of Behavioral Sciences, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands

5 Kaiser Permanente Northwest Center for Health Research, Portland, OR, USA

6 Health Utilities Incorporated, Dundas, ON, Canada

7 Leiden University Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, Leiden, the Netherlands

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Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 2012, 10:49  doi:10.1186/1477-7525-10-49

Published: 15 May 2012



The purpose was, first, to evaluate changes in health-related quality of life (HRQL) in a cohort of very low birth weight (VLBW; <1500 g.) or very preterm (< 32 weeks of gestation) children between ages 14 and 19, and second, to identify correlates of HRQL at age 19.


HRQL was assessed using the Health Utilities Index Mark 3 (HUI3). In order to explore correlates of HRQL, we performed a hierarchical regression analysis.


Surviving VLBW children (nā€‰=ā€‰959) from a 1983 Dutch nation-wide cohort were eligible; 630 participated both at age 14 and 19; 54 at age 19 only. The mean HRQL score decreased from 0.87 to 0.86. The HRQL of 45% was stable, 25% were better and 30% were worse. A regression model showed internalizing problems were related most strongly to HRQL.


In the transition from adolescence to young adulthood, HRQL in Dutch VLBW children was stable at the group level but varied at the individual level. HRQL was negatively associated with internalizing problems and also with physical handicaps. Long-term follow-up studies on the impact of VLBW on HRQL are all the more called for, given the growing number of vulnerable infants surviving the neonatal period.

Health-related quality of life; Very low birth weight; Follow up