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A recent study published in JAMA Network Open showed that preterm infants with higher consumption of breastmilk from their own mothers had enhanced cardiac function at one year of age, with values approaching those of full-term babies.
Preterm infants, particularly those born before 29 weeks of gestation, typically have cardiovascular traits that result in impaired heart function. Long-term consequences can include ischemic heart disease, hypertension, and heart failure.
Using data on 80 preterm infants, researchers found that consuming a higher proportion of mothers’ milk during the first few weeks of life was associated with greater left and right heart function and structure with lower lung pressures and better right heart response to stress at age one, compared to having a higher intake of bovine-based formula.
Previous studies have shown consumption of breast milk to be linked to enhanced lung and brain development. This new research provides the first evidence of an association between consumption of mother’s milk in the neonatal period and improved cardiovascular health in people born preterm.
Sources: Breast milk proven to enhance heart performance in premature babies. RCSI University of Medicine and Health Services, August 30, 2021. rcsi.com/dublin/news-and-events/news/news-article/2021/08/breast-milk-proven-to-enhance-heart-performance-in-premature-babies.
El-Khuffash A, Lewandowski AJ, Jain A, et al. Cardiac performance in the first year of age among preterm infants fed maternal breast milk. JAMA Network Open. 2021; 4(8):e2121206. DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.21206.
Published in the Price-Pottenger Journal of Health and Healing
Fall 2021 | Volume 45, Number 3
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