Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Follow-up studies of infants born prematurely are essential to understand the long-term consequences of preterm birth and the efficacy of interventions delivered in the neonatal period. Retention of participants for follow-up studies, however, is challenging, with attrition rates of up to 70%. Our aim was to examine retention rates in two follow-up studies of prematurely born children and identify participant or study characteristics that were associated with higher attrition, and to discuss retention strategies with regard to the literature. METHODS: Data from children recruited at birth to one of two studies of prematurely born infants were assessed. The two studies were the United Kingdom Oscillation Study (UKOS, a randomised study comparing two modes of neonatal ventilation in infants born less than 29 weeks of gestational age (GA)), and an observational study examining the impact of viral lower respiratory tract infections in infancy in those born less than 36 weeks of GA (virus study). The UKOS participants, but not those in the virus study, had regularly been contacted throughout the follow-up period. UKOS subjects were followed up at 11 to 14 years of age and subjects in the virus study at 5-7 years of age. At follow up in both studies, pulmonary function and respiratory morbidity were assessed. Retention rates to follow-up in the two studies and baseline characteristics of those who were and were not retained were assessed. RESULTS: Retention was significantly higher in UKOS than the virus study (61% versus 35%, p 

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Public Health

Publication Date





Follow-up study, Prematurity, Recruitment, Adolescent, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Infant, Premature, Lost to Follow-Up, Male, Patient Participation, United Kingdom