HealthDay News — Lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) in early childhood are associated with an increased risk for dying from respiratory disease by age 73 years, according to a study published online March 7 in The Lancet.
James Peter Allinson, Ph.D., from the Royal Brompton Hospital London, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal observational cohort study using data from a nationally representative cohort recruited at birth in March 1946 in England, Scotland, and Wales. The association between LRTI in early childhood (younger than 2 years of age) and death from respiratory disease from age 26 through 73 years was examined.
Data were included for 5,362 participants enrolled in March 1946; at age 20 to 25 years, 75 percent continued participating in the study. Survival analyses from 1972 onward included 3,589 participants aged 26 years. There was a maximum follow-up time of 47.9 years. The researchers found that after adjustment for confounders, including childhood socioeconomic position and smoking at age 20 to 25 years, the 25 percent of participants who had an LRTI during early childhood had an increased risk for dying from respiratory disease by age 73 years compared with those with no LRTI during early childhood (hazard ratio, 1.93). This finding was associated with a population attributable risk of 20.4 percent and a total of 179,188 excess deaths across England and Wales from 1972 to 2019.
“To avoid the development of these adult diseases and the perpetuation of child health inequities, preventive strategies spanning the whole life course are required,” the authors write.
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.