Presentation Information

Afif EL-Khuffash

Early Breastmilk Exposure and Later Cardiovascular Health in Premature Infants

  • Speaker: Afif EL-Khuffash , MB, BCh, BAO, BA (Sci), FRCPI, MD, DCE, IBCLC
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 Nursing CEU, 1 CME

Premature infants have impaired cardiovascular function that persists into adulthood. Preterm infants exhibit impaired systolic and diastolic dysfunction that is intolerant of the adverse loading conditions experienced during the early neonatal period. Young adults born premature demonstrate a unique cardiac phenotype characterized by reduced biventricular volume, relatively lower systolic and diastolic function, and a disproportionate increase in muscle mass. This may clinically manifest by an increased risk of cardiovascular incidents, hypertension, and reduced exercise tolerance. Those consequences appear to result from early postnatal cardiac remodelling due to premature birth and associated comorbidities. Recent evidence suggests that early exposure to breast milk slows down or even arrests those pathophysiological changes, thereby mitigating the long-term adverse effects of premature birth on cardiovascular health. In this presentation, I aim to demonstrate the vital role of early breast milk exposure in preventing cardiovascular disease in preterm infants. We will explore the emerging evidence and examine the possible mechanistic pathways mediating this phenomenon.