Caffeine a Boon or A Bane For The Preemie Lungs – ZMR Blog
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Caffeine a Boon or A Bane For The Preemie Lungs

Caffeine is good for the premature babies. Do you believe this? No, right! However, a group of researchers from the Royal Women’s Hospital, Australia has proved that caffeine can help the babies enhance their expiratory flow rates.

According to the paramedics, the preemies are always at a higher risk of contracting breathing problems due to the incomplete development of the lungs. However, the current study proves that the caffeine may have benefits that are carried forward in the mid-childhood as well. The researchers had included around 142 preterm babies for the caffeine therapy in the international clinical trial.


The inclusion of the preemie babies was considered looking at the increasing rate of preterm birth all across the globe.These babies either lose their lives or have disabilities that last all their life.The use of caffeine-based drugs in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is being carried out since a decade and the use of such drugs help prevent lung and respiratory conditions in the preterm babies. The use of assistance for breathing is also reduced.

Earlier studies have proved that the component methylxanthines present in caffeine help lower the apnea occurrence in the babies, a condition in which the baby doesn’t breathe for many seconds.The chances of bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a condition wherein the lung development abnormality and chances of injury are high are also reduced by the use of caffeine.


The trial named “Caffeine for Apnea Prematurity” is a randomized controlled trial, where 142 preterm babies were included for testing the short-term and long-term benefits of caffeine.Out of these, 68 were given the placebo and the rest 78 were given the caffeine-based drugs. These children were then tested for lung function test known as expiratory flow rates so as to measure the outward airflow rate at the age of 11. The expiratory flow rateincluding forced expiratory volume (FEV), forced vital capacity (FVC), and FEF in the caffeine group was better than the placebo group. In addition to all this, even the FEV1/FVC ratio was also better in the caffeine group than the placebo.

The effect of caffeine in the preemie is still a matter of debt. The lung function tests have to be carried out at the age of 25 as the lung function is at the peak that time. But in this trial, the tests were carried out in the mid-childhood. Hence, the caffeine’s benefit on the lung functionality still requires detailed study. The caffeine, however, reduces the injury and abnormal lung development rate.

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