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Professor Lewandowski studies effects of pregnancy complications like preterm birth on heart development and other bodily systems and organs.

In this podcast, he discusses preterm cardiology and possibilities of heart disease. He explains

  • How the medical community defines and categorizes preterm stages,
  • What preterm heart development looks like compared to in utero, and
  • What studies are being done to identify interventions that might improve long-term cardiovascular health for preterm children.

Adam Lewandowski is a university research lecturer and British Heart Foundation Intermediate Research Fellow at the University of Oxford in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Radcliffe Department of Medicine. As neonatal clinical care has advancement to increase survival rates of preterm babies, more focus is on long-term connections between preterm development and heart disease.

Professor Lewandowski explains that babies born as early as 22 weeks survive, with a 60 to 70% survival rate within that cohort. He describes preterm development with a cardiology lens, explaining how changes in pressure effect functioning pulmonary resistance. It’s common to see an increase in hypertrophic cells and thickening ventricular walls with smaller cavities leading to reduced myocardial functional reserve.

Dr. Lewandowski also touches on causes of preterm birth like genetic factors, preeclampsia, infections, obesity, and smoking. He addresses the challenges of preterm care such as monitoring and maintaining lung function, providing nutrition and food, and keeping them infection free.

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Finally, he discusses chances of adult heart disease and other issues regarding cardiovascular health as well as studies to assess interventions like exercise and nutrition. He explains the importance of monitoring these patients as they grow into adulthood to catch any issues like hypertension early. He reminds listeners that long-term concerns often take a back seat at the neonatal stage because all efforts go to keeping these preterm babies alive.

For more about Dr. Lewandowski, see his lab’s website at

For other resources on these issues, look for good charity websites like the March of Dimes.

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