Exaggerated cardiac contractile response to hypoxia in adults born preterm

Gregory P. Barton, Philip A. Corrado, Christopher J. Francois, Naomi C. Chesler, Marlowe W. Eldridge, Oliver Wieben, Kara N. Goss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Individuals born prematurely have smaller hearts, cardiac limitations to exercise, and increased overall cardiometabolic risk. The cardiac effects of acute hypoxia exposure as another phys-iologic stressor remain under explored. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of hypoxia on ventricular function in adults born preterm. Adults born moderately to extremely pre-term (≤32 weeks gestation or <1500 g, N = 32) and born at term (N = 18) underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging under normoxic (21% O2) and hypoxic (12% O2) conditions to assess cardiovascular function. In normoxia, cardiac function parameters were similar between groups. During hy-poxia, the right ventricular (RV) contractile response was significantly greater in participants born premature, demonstrated by greater increases in RV ejection fraction (EF) (p = 0.002), ventricular-vascular coupling (VVC) (p = 0.004), and strain (p < 0.0001) measures compared to term-born partic-ipants, respectively. Left ventricular contractile reserve was similar to term-born participants. Adults born preterm exhibit an exaggerated contractile response to acute hypoxia, particularly in the RV. This suggests that adults born preterm may have contractile reserve, despite the lack of volume reserve identified in previous exercise studies. However, this exaggerated and hyper-adapted response may also increase their risk for late RV failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1166
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2 2021


  • Cardiac function
  • Contractile response
  • Hypoxia
  • Prematurity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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