Exercise-induced irregular right heart flow dynamics in adolescents and young adults born preterm

Jacob A. Macdonald, Grant S. Roberts, Philip A. Corrado, Arij G. Beshish, Kristin Haraldsdottir, Gregory P. Barton, Kara N. Goss, Marlowe W. Eldridge, Christopher J. Francois, Oliver Wieben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Preterm birth has been linked to an elevated risk of heart failure and cardiopulmonary disease later in life. With improved neonatal care and survival, most infants born preterm are now reaching adulthood. In this study, we used 4D flow cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) coupled with an exercise challenge to assess the impact of preterm birth on right heart flow dynamics in otherwise healthy adolescents and young adults who were born preterm. Methods: Eleven young adults and 17 adolescents born preterm (< 32 weeks of gestation and < 1500 g birth weight) were compared to 11 young adult and 18 adolescent age-matched controls born at term. Stroke volume, cardiac output, and flow in the main pulmonary artery were quantified with 4D flow CMR. Kinetic energy and vorticity were measured in the right ventricle. All parameters were measured at rest and during exercise at a power corresponding to 70% VO2max for each subject. Multivariate linear regression was used to perform age-adjusted term-preterm comparisons. Results: With exercise, stroke volume increased 10 ± 21% in term controls and decreased 4 ± 18% in preterm born subjects (p = 0.007). This resulted in significantly reduced capacity to increase cardiac output in response to exercise stress for the preterm group (58 ± 26% increase in controls, 36 ± 27% increase in preterm, p = 0.004). Elevated kinetic energy (KEterm = 71 ± 22 nJ, KEpreterm = 87 ± 38 nJ, p = 0.03) and vorticity (ωterm = 79 ± 16 s−1, ωpreterm = 94 ± 32 s−1, p = 0.01) during diastole in the right ventricle (RV) suggested altered RV flow dynamics in the preterm subjects. Streamline visualizations showed altered structure to the diastolic filling vortices in those born preterm. Conclusions: For the participants examined here, preterm birth appeared to result in altered right-heart flow dynamics as early as adolescence, especially during diastole. Future studies should evaluate whether the altered dynamics identified here evolves into cardiopulmonary disease later in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • 4D flow
  • Cardiovascular magnetic resonance
  • Exercise
  • Kinetic energy
  • Premature
  • Preterm
  • Ventricle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Exercise-induced irregular right heart flow dynamics in adolescents and young adults born preterm'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this