Risk of Asthma in Late Preterm Infants: A Propensity Score Approach

Gretchen A. Voge, Slavica K. Katusic, Rui Qin, Young J. Juhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: The risk of asthma, specifically in former late preterm infants, has not been well defined. Covariate imbalance and lack of controlling for this has led to inconsistent results in prior studies. Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the risk of asthma in former late preterm infants using a propensity score approach. Methods: The study was a population-based birth cohort study. Study subjects were all children born in Rochester, Minn, between 1976 and 1982. Asthma status during the first 7 years of life was assessed by applying predetermined criteria. The propensity score was formulated using 15 covariates by fitting a logistic regression model for late preterm birth versus term birth. We applied the propensity score method to match late preterm infants (34 0/7 to 36 6/7 weeks of gestation) to term infants (37 0/7 to 40 6/7 weeks of gestation) within a caliper of 0.2 standard deviation of logit of propensity score. Results: Of the eligible 7040 infants, 5915 children had complete data. Before propensity score matching, late preterm infants had a higher risk of asthma (20 of 262, 7.6%) compared with full-term infants (272 of 5653, 4.8%) (P = 039). There was significant covariate imbalance between comparison groups. After matching with propensity scores, we found that former late preterm infants had a similar risk of asthma to the matched full-term infants (6.6% vs 7.7%, respectively, P = 61), and the result was consistent with covariate-adjustment Cox regression models controlling for significant covariates (P = 57). Conclusion: A late preterm birth history is not independently associated with childhood asthma, as the reported risk of asthma among former late preterm infants appears to be due to covariate imbalance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-910
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • Asthma
  • Epidemiology
  • Late preterm infants
  • Propensity score
  • Risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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